Welcome to this page. The following is a research paper designed for my tenth grade honors english class. I had fun writing it, and I think that you will enjoy reading it. It has a lot of information in it that could be useful for someone else's research project. Have fun!
note: I accidently deleted the bibliography, so if you needed it, sorry! That's also why there are little things in parenthesis, from when I had the bibliography. They're just too much work to take out.

Matt Cline

Mr. Shosh

Honors English 10

January 14, 1998

Song Lyrics and the Listener
Many studies have been done throughout the years to prove that music affects the listener's emotions (Gard 24). In some situations the lyrics can even make a much more permanent imprint on the listener than the music itself. Song lyrics can affect the listener by causing depression, by provoking suicide, or by making the listener feel good. Throughout the past several decades a serious deterioration in the message of many songs performed by popular artists has become present. The song lyrics glamorize the abuse of drugs, depict graphic violence, make reference to Satanism and human sacrifice, promote all kinds of sex, and focus on depression and suicide (Rock). Ever since these messages have been placed into popular songs, more drug use, more violence, more sex, and more depression and suicide have been prominent among teenagers (Mueller 2). A song written by a six time Grammy Award nominee, Alanis Morissette (Maverickrc), illustrates depression in popular music, "Wait a minute man. You mispronounced my name. You didn't wait for all the information before you turned me away. Wait a minute sir. You kind of hurt my feelings" (Morissette 7). Alanis is depressed from a man who is misjudging her. However, her depression goes a little too far towards the end of the song when she says, "You didn't think I'd show up with my army. And this ammunition on my back" (Morissette 7). Someone who is already depressed could think that guns are the solution to being free of depression. Although many people at some point in their lifetime get depressed, not so many try to commit suicide. The problem is that more and more popular song lyrics are beginning to encourage this as the best solution to depression. Since the early nineteen nineties, approximately 500,000 teenagers have tried to commit suicide each year, while, sadly, approximately 5,000 succeeded (Marla). On December 11, 1996, fifteen year old, Richard Kuntz, was added in as a statistic to the 5,000 teenagers who commit suicide each year. He shot himself in the head while he was listening to his favorite band, Marilyn Manson, who has won several MTV Video Music Awards (Coyote). The boy's father claimed, "'The music wasn't symptomatic of other problems. I would say the music caused him to kill himself.'" The lyrics of Richard's favorite song even promote suicide. "'The Reflecting God' [by Marilyn Manson]: 'One shot and the world gets smaller. Let's jump upon the sharp swords and cut away our smiles. Without the threat of death, there's no reason to live at all. My world is unaffected, there is not exit here'" (Manson). Although almost every secular musician includes some kind of depressing message in his songs, most Christian musicians include positive and uplifting lyrics. Never has there been a recorded case of someone listening to their favorite Christian band and committing suicide. Songs such as "The World I Know" by Collective Soul have lyrics that protest against the idea of suicide, "So I walk up on high, and I step up to the edge to see my world below. And I laugh to myself as the tears roll down. 'Cause it's the world I know. It's the world I know" (Collective 2). The singer is telling how he was thinking of suicide, but he realized that he likes the world he is in. If he commits suicide, he will no longer be in this world, which he knows so well. "A teenager [can become] preoccupied with music that has destructive themes, and changes in [the teenager’s] behavior such as isolation, depression, alcohol or other drug abuse, may occur" (Rock). Song lyrics have a potent impact on the mind (Campbell 11). Depressing lyrics can cause a person to have thoughts of self destruction or suicide. Up-lifting lyrics can bring peace to one’s mind. The type of music a person listens to should be carefully chosen.