Music reflects the times we live in. Today's songwriters and audiences reflect a more individualist, materialist, fearful, uncertain, cynical, and alienated society than back in the day.

Another blog article, How Music Listening Has Changed, makes the broader claim that music listening is essentially different now than it was back in the day. That article calls out six reasons, including changing times. Here is where to discuss the changing times claim.

This is my short versionĀ of the The TImes They Have A-Changed story:

In the past, music both inspired and reflected social change. Soul music history was inextricably intertwined with the Civil Rights movement. Romantic love songs appealed to listeners of all ages right up through the 1970s.

Beginning in the 1980s, American politics and culture shifted toward libertarianism, individualism, materialism, and multi-national corporatism. Intimacy changed for many reasons, including a new awareness of HIV/AIDS.

In today's music, gangsta rap and hard core rock project anger and hostility; indie/alternative rock dwells on irony and dramatizes self-doubt; and boy-girl pop songs tend to glorify gamesmanship, hooking up, and the mechanics of sex.

Music reflects the times. An era of reform, progress, optimism, and confidence (despite Vietnam and the Cold War) produced a different kind of music than an era of conservatism, economic disparities, global threats, and uncertainty about the future. Each generation writes about love and romance in its own terms.

What is your take on this story? Do you agree with mine? How would you write it differently? Does the "message" in the music affect your listening experience?