Message from popular genre must be refined

I respect the argument that house music is tantamount to rock ’n’ roll in the 1960s. The rock ’n’ roll movement had substance. It fostered the advancement of the civil rights movement, the women’s rights movement, the sexual revolution and anti-war protest. But in all candor, house music lacks similarly substantive messages.

If house music unites the masses under a nondescript “feeling,” then what does that say about who we are as individuals and how the youth identifies as a generation? Paul McCartney’s, Blackbird, struck a chord with African American women suffering from iniquitous oppression.

“Take these broken wings and learn to fly. All your life, you were only waiting for this moment to arrive,” he sings. His words conjured images in the minds of the youth of the Little Rock Nine, Rosa Parks and Daisy Bates. He brought people together with a message of oppression and empowerment.

Yet, house music reminds today’s zombie hoard that we have feelings? And sometimes we get good feelings. That is deep.

Unlike house, rock ’n’ roll cultivated a national movement. White and blue collar workers came together to shatter the Man’s chains. By comparison, purchasing a plane ticket to Miami, a weekend at a hotel and a $300 admission ticket, buys today’s youth unfettered access to the “house movement.”

Rock ’n’ roll altered the fundamental social composition of American society. Congress commissioned the Committee on Un-American Activities to combat rock ’n’ roll’s effectiveness. In contrast, a film of a girl making out with a tree at Ultra has gone viral. Back away from that oak.

Rock ’n’ roll conscientiously crafted counterculture. Timothy Leary and Richard Alpert advocated drug use as a way to “think for yourself and question authority” and “be here now,” whereas Madonna encouraged fans at Ultra to take ecstasy for no apparent reason. I am not advocating drug use, but there is a critical distinction between taking a stand and seeking a thrill.

Maybe there is no modern analog to the rock ’n’ roll movement because there is no compelling reason to fight the establishment. Humanity has made undeniable progress since Jim Crow and La Leche League, but we are far from utopia.

A revolutionary backdrop is not a perquisite to a legitimate movement, but a legitimate movement needs a meaningful purpose. Betty Friedan wrote, “Aging will create the music of the coming century.”

We’re not getting any younger and our generation must resolve problems like inequality, hypertrophic growthand aimlessness. Rock’n’roll facilitated the baby boomer generation’s ability to reduce abstract ideas into articulable goals of equality, peace and love. The abstract aspirations of house music have not materialized into ascertainable goals.

If house music is the medium then the message must be refined.

Todd Friedman is a third year law student. 

April 25, 2012


Todd Friedman

Around the Web
  • Error
  • UM News
  • HurricaneSports

RSS Error: WP HTTP Error: fsocket timed out

By showing how the controversial crime-fighting strategy is unevenly employed in marginalized neighb ...

Hosmay Lopez, of the NOAA Cooperative Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Studies at the University ...

UM alumna Shirley Hoffman Kilkelly was one of the few women engineers who worked on the Apollo 11 mo ...

College of Engineering alumnus Frank DeMattia was just 21 years old when he went to work at NASA on ...

Registered dietitian Stephanie Sanchez shares realistic, healthy ways to get you on track and headed ...

Sophomore tight end Brevin Jordan was among the 60 players named to the 2019 John Mackey Award Prese ...

Estela Perez-Somarriba of the Miami women's tennis team added yet another elite accolade to her ...

Redshirt senior wide receiver K.J. Osborn was among six ACC players named to The Biletnikoff Award W ...

The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) has awarded the University of Miami a 2019 NCAA ...

Dane Dunlap, William Grattan-Smith and Franco Aubone were each selected as All-Academic Scholar Athl ...

TMH Twitter
About TMH

The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.