What DOES America sound like?

After listening to one of Professor Szu’s first lectures on “sounding like America”, I couldn’t help but question the current sounds of America. Popular music is now brimming with innuendo to sex, drugs, and the degradation of women. For the past few weeks The Hills by The Weeknd has remained in the top spot on Billboard Top 100. Not only has it remained the number one song in America for several weeks, but it has also remained in the top 100 for twenty weeks. Although its appeal may be purely due to its catchy tune, this song alludes to a sexual affair, influenced by drugs, that must be kept hidden from the public eye/ “the hills”. Music is said to reflect and/or relate to people’s ideas or experiences within a culture. Through this song alone we see both interest in keeping up public appearances (also portrayed in the “Lawn People” reading), and the the appeal of drugs and sex through influence of the media. What does this song, and others alike, say about American culture today?


4 thoughts on “What DOES America sound like?

  1. Honestly, I feel like this video is admonishing on how drugs affect a persons life. I agree that this is undermining women in today’s society because it is demonstrating how women dress and how they are some sort of sex tool. I feel like this generation has gone to the ground with all these immoral situations. I feel like the sound of America is a low one right now.


  2. I think its interesting how we consider the current popular songs to be the “new sound” of America. I agree that it does represent American popular culture, but when I try to define the sound of America, songs like this are not what come to my mind. I think of more classics like our national anthem or America the Beautiful. Not to say that, this isn’t a good representation of current American culture, I just think that this is not the message Americans should be sending. Many songs today do discuss things like sex and drugs, but I agree with the previous comment that we should not accept this as the new sound of America.


  3. I’ve thought about this topic quite a bit too. It seems like most popular songs today have references to sex, drugs, or violence. And these themes aren’t just present in the music industry, they seem to be embedded in other forms of media as well. For example, movies, television shows, and video games often include these themes. However, I don’t believe these forms of media are accurately depicting people’s ideas or experiences within our culture, even if they are seen all around us. To me it seems like people are just trying to portray themselves as someone who is associated with drugs, sex, and violence. And I believe they do this in order to fit in and mirror celebrities who actually are involved with drugs, sex, and violence. Overall, I must agree with you and conclude that songs like these tell us that public appearances have a huge impact on what we see and hear in American culture.


  4. This is something I noticed as a reoccurring theme as well in modern day music. Unfortunately, the current top charts music does represent the inferiority of women as well as its drug and sex culture. However, I refuse to believe that this music that is influencing many Americans today should be the voice and making of modern America because the United States has built its reputation in the past with higher standards. While I do agree that culture shifts over time and this may be the best representation of the current American society, I also agree with the previous comments that this representation should not be accepted as America’s new sound. Social media, such as popular music, influences modern day youth too much for it to promote violence, drugs and the degradation of women and minority groups.


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