Response to the article Titled Killing Me Softly with His Song: An Initial Investigation into the Use of Popular Music as a Tool of Oppression by Martin Cloonan & Bruce Johnson.
The most engaging element in this article is how the authors try to explain how music can change how people think. They indicate that even though music can be a useful tool in the building of social and individual identities, it also has a destructive side. The author also talks about how the music studies have overlooked the negative side of music while in the real sense, it is causing many problems (Cloonan and Johnson 27). One would agree with authors that in every moment when people support music as a method of articulating cultural territory, they should also know that they are supporting actual destruction or displacement of other identities. At times this displacement may occur as extreme violence. This shows the capacity of music to change how people think and make them behave in a manner that would cause negative consequences.
One would agree with the authors that music has been used for a long time as a tool for oppression without people knowing it. For a long time, people have been using music to justify their plight. This is evidenced in many cases where a certain group of people seem to like or dislike some music and go on using their feelings towards it to suppress others (Cloonan and Johnson 27). For example, rebels may use songs to do with fighting injustice or fighting for freedom. When this happens, many people, especially the young ones, join the rebel troops because of how, through the music, they are convinced about the need to fight for their freedom.
The fact that music has been used by people to achieve their evil desire should not lead to the conclusion that music is bad. The fact that music is a form of self-expression explains why some people would use it at the expense of others to fulfill their selfish motives. However, some tracks that have been used by some people to meet their selfish motives have nothing to do with how they are used. For example, there is nothing wrong with recordings of Frank Sinatra to justify why it was used to drive street children out of the Wollongong shopping mall (Cloonan and Johnson 27). It appears that the good days of popular songs are ending.
While popular music has nothing evil in it, it can be considered evil because of how it is sometimes are used. For example, prisoners who were found singing songs by Irish nationalists who opposed British colonials in Australia were subjected to heavy punishment (Cloonan and Johnson 27). It is not the people who liked the songs who caused terror but those who disliked them. In this sense, it appears that the songs had nothing wrong with them, but they were used as an excuse for silencing the prisoners. Another area where popular music came out clearly as evil is when it was used in Yugoslavia to inflict pain on innocent people. It was used as a tool for committing acts of repression and inhumanity (Coonan and Johnson 28). Popular music should, therefore, not be held as being universally good just because of their consumerism, but their evil side should also be equally put into consideration.