5 Hardest Questions in Pop Music

Chris Richards is a pop music critic who, in his article, “The Five Hardest Questions in Pop Music,” he talks about controversial topics in popular music today. One of the 5 big questions he asks is whether or not we should listen to a dead artist’s music against their wishes. Now at first this sounds a bit confusing. But what he means by this, and he asks this clearly in his writing about Prince, “Would he have wanted us rifling through the recordings that he had so purposefully locked away in the depths of his Paisley Park studio?” (Richards paragraph 12). He then goes on to talk about how “vaults” are meant to be broken. By this, he states that if it is something so secret and personal to the artist, then they should have explained that in their lifetime. He said that the artist should destroy the recording or leave explicit instructions on what is to happen to those recordings. Richards then goes on about how if the music was to be released, then it would be more knowledgeable to release it in the Library of Congress or the Free music Archive rather than a commercial streaming service. 

I strongly disagree with Chris’s points made in this section of the article. I believe that if an artist did attempt to hide something away from the public, that their opinion should be respected and left alone. I see this as equivalent to grave robbing. If someone’s grave doesn’t say, “Don’t rob please I don’t want that,” does that mean it’s fine to dig it up and take what you want? This is exactly what happened to recently passed rapper, XXXTentacion. After his death, his record label ransacked his archives and released a bunch of music, and made a museum to him in a very disrespectful manner. They exploited his death for money, which I believe is wrong on so many levels. It hasn’t just been him either. Record labels are cruel when it comes to getting paid. Now I do understand when Richards says, “…I’d feel much better listening to Prince’s unheard music via the Library of Congress or the Free Music Archive than on a commercial streaming service” (Richards paragraph 14). However, if a vault is to be open, it should be opened at the full consent of the owner.

In another section of this article, Richards asks if artists can still sell out. By this, he means do they still get punished for doing anything for money, or exploiting themselves to get paid. However, he goes about this as if he doesn’t agree with the fact that they are able to star in advertisements to get paid. He mentions that, “…a mere whiff of corporate affiliation can vaporize a musician’s good public standing?” (Richards paragraph 17). He says this because back then, artists would stay away from  big advertising brands because it would ruin their reputation and they would be considered sellouts. Now, artists are praised for appearing in commercials and advertisements. He also states that, “Alarms should go off whenever music’s primary function is to sell another product” (Richards paragraph 21). Chris believes that big brands and music should be separate and not have to collaborate to sell a product.

This is another ideology that I disagree with. I believe that if a musician wants to use his name to sell a product, then they can. It’s their decision on how they want to get paid. Music will always show up in advertisements anyways. It’s one way that they can get the attention. And from what I have heard in the past about how record labels treat their artists, I don’t see why anyone shouldn’t be allowed to do other things to get money. What they’re doing isn’t illegal, and if it’s not going to be music artists, then it’ll be athletes, popular actors, etc. And no matter what you say, there is going to be music in these advertisements. No one will pay attention to them if they can’t make something appealing. Also, if they’re going to use someone’s music, why shouldn’t that person be allowed to help advertise? It would only make sense if they were allowed to put their own face with their song, and get paid while doing it. Just because a song appears in a commercial, this does not mean that the songs only purpose is to advertise a product, perhaps it has a catchy beat, or maybe instead of the product using the music to improve sales, the artist used the product to help improve popularity.

Playlist

This playlist is a very condensed summary of what I listen to. It consists of one, maybe 2 examples of the music I like to listen to. The first song, “Never You Done That” by General Public is a very upbeat, alternative rock song. I actually got to see them in concert very recently, around late July. There were no seats however and it was a room maybe capable of holding 200 people, and we were meant to stand and dance. I’m not much of a dancer though, and it felt quite awkward standing surrounded by a bunch of wild adults, half of them probably drunk. It was still a great show and the band sounded amazing. The next song, “Peace of Mind” by Boston, is one of my favorites, mainly because of the guitar. I’ve never heard a guitar played like that in any other song, and it’s really incredible to me. Even my dad has told me that no one of his knowledge has been able to replicate a similar guitar sound. The next two songs, “Runnin’ Through the 7th With my Woadies” by $uicideboy$, and, “Deira City Centre” by Night Lovell, are two songs that I really enjoy listening to. They both represent the fast, booming voices of both artists which I thoroughly enjoy. The last song, “Just a Dream” by Nelly, is one that gives me waves of nostalgic feelings when I listen to it. I believe that it’s a great song and that it really does a good job at representing its time period.

Music in my Life

I don’t know a soul who doesn’t listen to music regularly. Music is an interesting topic, because it’s completely unique to everyone. Anyone can have their own preferences and it can often be seen as a safe space, or something people can turn to if they need a little escape from reality. To me, music is exactly that. It is something I can look to if I need a break from the real world, or if I need a small distraction, or even if I need to focus. There are a few music groups and bands that I do like listening to regularly. One of these groups is $uicideboy$. This is a group that consists of two cousins who do basically everything on their own. They are a heavy/shadow rap duo who makes a lot of loud, aggressive, and sometimes depressing music. I’m not quite sure what it is exactly that draws me towards their music, but I love the uniqueness in their work. Another rapper who makes loud and aggressive music is Night Lovell. The thing about him is that he has a very deep voice which almost echoes in my head when I listen. It’s quite entertaining. There’s not many groups that I tend to listen to specifically, but there are genres that I like. As said above is dark rap. But other genres I like include 60s/70s/80s/90s alternative rock, early 2000s throwbacks, and even Lo-Fi. I got into the alternative rock by my parents. They would always play that kind of music while I grew up, and it really grew onto me. I don’t want to say that I grew up in the wrong generation because that’s not true. There are things that I’d much rather keep around now that weren’t a thing in those days. I’ve been told I have an old soul, which I guess is the closest thing to that. The early 2000s music is the stuff I grew up with, and the feeling of nostalgia and the memories that come with some songs are often nice and it’s enjoyable. However, as many people will say otherwise, no one likes all kinds of music. There’s always an artist or genre that doesn’t appeal to everyone. In my case, I never really got into modern day rap. And though there are a few artists that I enjoy, for the most part rap hasn’t been a big part of my life. I feel like it all sounds virtually the same, and they all say the same things. They rap about sex and drugs, which puts me in a thought process that persuades me that they don’t put any thoughts or emotion into their work. There are people who will disagree, and I know that I haven’t listened to every single rap song, so I don’t know if there’s a few that I may like. However, from what I heard, that is my opinion. This is part of the reason why I believe music is an interesting topic. No one has the exact same taste and that’s something that everyone can have for themselves.

UNE Public Relations Consultant Paper

Hello head faculty of the University of New England. It has come to my attention that in recent events, there has been a political issue amongst the athletes at your school. Before the games commence, these students have been taking a knee during the national anthem. While we do support freedom of speech and the rights of your students, these actions could have major fallbacks on the school. UNE has a strong reputation in academics and D3 athletics, along with a high enrollment rate considering the size of the school. These events could potentially ruin these reputations and negatively affect the schools enrollment rate, therefore decreasing annual income. Not only is this a threat to the school, these players are also endangering themselves. Other students, especially at the age they are, who may disagree with these opinions may outcast or reject these students, just as Colin Kaepernick was let go from the San Francisco 49ers. It is our job to find a compromise to this, allowing these students to continue to protest, but protect them and the school at the same time. This letter is to guide you through the problems of this situation, and show possible solutions to benefit all sides of the event.

Politics in sports has been a very controversial topic among the last couple decades. Certain events have taken this topic to a much further level rather than just being something that can be dismissed by the general public. This has become a much more serious topic. 

This situation really started growing after ex 49er’s quarterback Colin Kaepernick was seen taking a knee on the field during the national anthem. His reason for doing this is to protest the amount of police brutality against African Americans in the United States. Although he has many supporters of this, including fellow teammates and players from other teams, this sparked major outrage throughout the entire country. Many people saw this as disrespectful and unamerican. And although Kaepernick got major fallback on this event, including his release form the 49er’s, he never gave into it and stood by his beliefs. And every citizen has the right to protest. But these events spread fast. Other teams were seen taking knees. The Pittsburgh Steelers refused to leave their locker rooms until the anthem had ended. I have even noticed students in schools who refused to stand for the pledge of allegiance. These players have influence on these students and these students may have influence on other students. It is our school’s job to make sure that students are satisfied and won’t have to do these dangerous acts. The point I’m trying to get across is that anyone who has protested the national anthem has received heavy backlash for their actions. They were not only criticized by the common folk, but by media and news outlets as well.  It would be quite problematic if the school were to experience that same type of hit.

With an event such as this one, it is clear that there will be large effects to the school and to the students. It is clear that this could have heavy issues that will affect the school negatively. The University of New England has strong reputations for its academic success and physical prowess in Division 3 athletics. These reputations are the reason that this school has a high enrollment rate which allows it to stay successful. If this event were to have its full effect, the school could suffer. With these coming into play, the schools enrollment rate would decrease at a large scale, and the university will take financial hits and may not be able to sustain itself.

The enrollment rate is another massive problem that has come up multiple times in this writing. Without the proper rate of income, this school will not be able to sustain itself. This is because nearly all of the university money is from tuition of the students, while the rest is fundraisers or similar events. This school will not be able to survive if we cannot keep our students motivated to behave in sports and academics, while still allowing them to protest.

Another way that these protests could affect this school is in its academics. With the freedom that college offers, students are able to skip classes with little repercussions until they do it in large amounts. Students who are in protest may skip out on class as a part of protest, or to go to protests. This lack of attendance could hurt the schools academic reputations to a point where no one’s going to want to send their children to a school that has no control over its students. Our professors are not going to be able to properly teach our students if the students do not attend the class.

Not only will this affect the university’s reputations, but it could hurt the students as well. Professional athletes have been taking major hits from the public and the media. If this same backlash were to come to the student, whether it be from fans, media, or even their peers, it could cause some sort of trauma to the students. In many cases, especially in school, kids are known to get physical when they have a strong disagreement in something. If something like this were to happen, both the students and the school would be in trouble. It is crucial that we find a way that will not threaten the students or the school, while still allowing them to openly protest for what they believe in.

If such a thing were to happen, there are ways to resolve these problems. One way that this can be handled is to listen to what people are saying. Why are these students protesting? What are supporters and objectors saying about this? People protest because they believe that something needs to be changed. Now if a student is protesting it is important for us to understand what it is and why. If they have something against what the school is doing, we should listen and try to comply. If they have something against the government, we should understand why it was brought to a university related event.

We also need to listen to the people who disagree with this thought process of the protester(s). If we make a change that upsets them, it could cause even more problems. It is crucial for us to understand why they disagree and what thoughts they may have on the situation. We, as a mediator, should not just take the input sides. We should do everything we can to make sure both sides are happy with the resolution.

There are different ways to go about solving this. After learning about all the contributing factors, the best choice is to find a solution for both sides. If it is possible to find a solution that both sides are happy with and can benefit everyone, then that is the first thing we must try. Perhaps we could offer the students different things to do, maybe before or after the anthem, that they can still get their points across, without risking backlash from anyone else. If we could come up with some sort of gesture that can portray the same message without as much weight, perhaps that could satisfy both sides. If this isn’t a possible solution, or one of the sides is not happy, there are other options. Another possible solution is to hold some sort of event for not just our students, but students of surrounding schools are also invited, in which they are able to get their voices out to the public and state their opinions. It is also important that if possible, delay the actions of the protesters until a resolution is possible. This is to prevent any increasing tension in hopes that it doesn’t escalate beyond what is easy to handle.

Now while there are things that we can do, there are also things we cannot do. These things include ignoring one side of the debate. The university can and will only survive this is if there is a resolution that all sides are happy with. Another thing we should not do is ignore the situation. If we were to pretend that this wasn’t important enough, it could hurt the students and the school. It is important that we jump onto any and all problems and find a solution as soon as possible

As well respected individuals and important people to this university, I trust that you will do the right thing if an event like this were to become an issue. I have given all the input on the situation that you may need and hope that it was able to assist you effectively

Should Athlete’s Be Involved in Politics

In the article, “The Era of the Sports God who Shuns Politics is Sadly Over,” written by Clay Travis, Is about the influence of politics in sports, and how it completely changed the meaning of professional sports. In the article, Travis starts off by explaining how Michael Jordan, who is the “sports god” written in the title, was the biggest role model in sports history. But he wasn’t too focused on just Jordan’s skill as a basketball player, though he did mention that this era was when sports was about skill rather than influence. Travis claims that Jordan was the ideal athlete, exclusively because when he was questioned on why he doesn’t act on political situations, he replied, “Republicans buy sneakers too.” By this he meant that he wanted to appeal to everyone. Now while this does make sense, this is the only example of his ideal athlete when it comes to political views.

 Personally, I agree to an extent on this idea. I think that athletes should be able to express their political views as citizens of the United States. However sometimes I believe some athletes have taken protesting a little far. Colin Kaepernick for example, took a knee during the National Anthem come his 2016 season. Travis described this as the result of being benched for lack of performance. This was confusing, and seemed very opinionated, especially when it was clear that he did so to bring awareness to police brutality in the U.S. Now I do believe that this is an ongoing issue, but the National Anthem represents our rights as Americans, and respect for those who have fought to earn it. Kneeling down is disrespecting those soldiers, especially the ones who have given their lives doing so. In my opinion, he could have taken different measures, but that doesn’t mean he was entirely wrong.

Another big topic that Clay Travis had mentioned was the influence of social media on the public, and how personalized and aggressive it could be. He states that many people seek influence and information from social media, which is very easily opinionated, and often gives off a lot of false news. Travis also mentions how social media may, “…appeal to many of the worst impulses of American life”(Travis 2) This is often true. Social Media often targets peoples’ worst qualities, falsifying many personalities. It persuades people that their opinion alone is good, while everyone else’s is wrong and bad. He also makes the point that social media had an influence directly onto politics by saying, “It is no coincidence that in the age of social media both Democrats and Republicans nominated the most hated people to ever run for office in 2016” (Travis 2). He implies, and I agree, that because of the powerful influence that social media possesses, the country has split apart, in both politics and sports. Because of this influence, athletes have also used their popular social media accounts to express themselves. Now Travis believes that it’s these athletes that are worsening this political divide and increasing the influence of social media. Whether or not this is true is obsolete, because politics are strictly based off of opinions. But athletes being able to express themselves is part of their most basic rights. They are also able to represent communities whose voices are unheard by higher powers in economics. 

Therefore, athletes being able to express their political views has no harm on anything but what they believe to be corrupt government powers. This only lets them speak up on their own opinions allows them to speak up for entire communities that are unheard by anyone important. Professional athletes are also citizens of the United States, and are allowed to speak up on their opinions, and are allowed to have as much influence as a politician, even if they don’t have the same experience, because it’s only their opinion, and it’s up to anyone else to agree or disagree.

Cognitive Fallacies

Making bad judgements and cognitive fallacies is a part of life. Many people can define a cognitive fallacy as a mental mistake. In simpler terms, it’s something that you thought would be correct, however multiple sources say that you’re wrong. Many times however, these bad judgements can be consistent or recurring, and that’s what Daniel Kahneman introduces in his writing, “Don’t Blink! Hazards of Confidence.” Believing you are right when it has been proven that you are wrong is not uncommon when it comes to cognitive fallacies. Kahneman explains this well in his writing listed above as he talks about cognitive fallacies and how they affect certain situations, such as stock broking.

In my own experience, I’ve had my own bad judgements. Years ago, roughly 9 or 10 if I’m correct, I was visiting the beach with my family. As we were about to pay for parking, the lady working there said that the waves were very big and the undertow was dangerously strong, and told us that it is highly recommended to stay out of the water. And, well, she wasn’t kidding. The waves were twice the size of me, and they crashed right onto the shore. I recognized this and decided to listen. At first. So I decided to just play in the sand with my siblings, making sandcastles and creating animals out of the sand. After some time, it got quiet. I decided to look at the water and it had appeared to slow down. And me, being a naive child, decided that it was safe to go in. I looked towards my family, all of whom were tanning, so they didn’t notice me sprinting towards the water. I got about waist deep, until I felt a sharp pull at my legs. I was brought off my feet and swiftly went to what would be deeper water. Only the ground didn’t get lower. I was lifted up into a wave that was three times my size, or at least that’s how big it felt. Everything seemed to just slow down. My head emerged at the top of the wave, and I noticed all the faces on the beach were looking straight at me. It was at this point that I knew I was terrified and that there was nothing I could do. That’s when I shot downwards. The waves threw me down with seismic power and slammed me against the soft sandy beach. I couldn’t breath for a short while because the impact had winded me. Thankfully, I had not gotten injured in any way. Perhaps if I had landed on a harder surface, more damage would have been done. That afternoon I thought about how bad of a mistake that was, and for a while I never wanted to swim again. It didn’t quite take me a long time to get over this because it wasn’t really traumatic, but I do remember a time where I refused to swim in fear that I would wipe out again. I remember working ankle deep, then slowly making my way deeper with the encouragement of my cousins and siblings. But now I love swimming and it has become a common for me to jump into the water with big waves again because I now know my limits.

My story relates to Kahneman in a few ways. One of these is the coherence of a story that lets us believe that our choices make sense, even though it is evident that they don’t. Kahneman tells us a lot about cognitive fallacies in “Don’t Blink! The Hazards of Confidence.” He introduces this concept by explaining his first bad judgement to the reader. When he trained army recruits to see who could potentially be a commanding officer in the near future, he would give them a difficult task with people they didn’t know. They would see who could take charge in situations that required teamwork. When he sent the results to his own commanding officer, he was told that his feedback was useless, and didn’t benefit anyone. In my story, I thought that what I did was correct, when it was obvious that it wasn’t. And even though he was told this, he was too focused on believing he was right, and continued doing the same thing over and over. He notices that this is a cognitive fallacy, or a mental mistake (Kahneman 2). In his writing, he explains how these fallacies are made by someone creating a story in their head. In my case, I believed that me going to the water would show that it’s no longer dangerous and that everyone could go in. In Kahneman’s case, he believed that his results from the experiment were beneficial to his commanding officers. These stories may leave out details to help both me and Kahneman believe we are right, and creates a bias.This bias is made because we both refused to believe that we’re wrong. Kahneman claims that everyone does it, however some cases can be a little more noticeable than others.

Although his story was much different than my own, they both revolve around making a mistake. My mistake was me thinking that the water was safe to go into, even though hundreds of people staying away was a big indication that I was wrong. In Kahneman’s case, he believed his data that he sent to his commanding officers was helping them pick recruits for special training. It was evident to them that his “help” wasn’t doing anything. After reading Kahneman’s writing, I have noticed that these mistakes can happen at any time and with anyone, though sometimes they aren’t very evident. Although Kahneman talks about big examples from his own experience, I have seen smaller ones. One that the majority of students show is repeated failure in homework when they do not understand the content.  Kahneman showed me that everyone has a similar mindset when it comes to making mistakes. Everyone does it, but they’re also afraid of doing so. This proves Kahneman to be correct because I believe that part of it is that when people do make mistakes, they try to cover it up with their own stories to help them prove to themselves and sometimes others that they are correct. Kahneman introduces this as a theory. People will make up stories in their own head to help them get passed the fact that they are wrong. The story will be made so that it has some sort of coherence to what the person believes. Because of this, many people leave out details that could be crucial to proving them wrong, but since said person does not want to believe they’re wrong, they ignore these and try to leave them out.

Making that decision to go into the water was not exactly the brightest idea I have had. I believe that the reason I did that is because I was an adventurous and naive kid who thought he was invincible. I thought that since the water had died down, that the ocean was inviting everyone to come swim with it. So I made the choice to be a leader and be the first to jump into the water. It was already too late for me as soon as I felt the pull at my legs. I realize what I had done, and I’m more aware of when things might still be dangerous even though they may appear like they’re not. It was a little difficult for me to get back into the water like the kid I used to be, and I am more than happy that I didn’t let this change my mind about things for a long time. But now I don’t regret doing that. Now I know that looks can mean very little in the real world. I also understand that life will throw me around and that I will always get winded by one thing or another. 

Making Cognitive fallacies is not essentially the worst thing that can happen to someone, and bad decisions are important for learning new lessons. Being wrong can show you where you made your errors and how you may be able to change or maybe even fix it. Being able to notice your own mistakes can prove that you will make errors, and these errors will better you as a choice maker and even as a person. Making good decisions in your life can also put you in good spots for your future. If you make good decisions, you will be able to find yourself where you want to be. Sometimes, even making bad decisions can benefit people. Some of the most successful people made one choice that changed their lives for the better. I have grown to believe that everyone has a moment where a single choice can determine the entire path for their future. It’s whether or not they want to act on it that makes the difference.

Cognitive Fallacies Draft

Making bad judgements and cognitive fallacies is a part of life. Many times however, these bad judgements can be consistent, and that’s what makes a cognitive fallacy. Believing you are right when it has been proven than you are wrong is not uncommon when it comes to self coherence. Kahneman explains this well in “Don’t Blink” as he talks about 7 cognitive fallacies that can be noticed anywhere.

In my own experience, I’ve had my own bad judgements. Years ago, roughly 9 or 10 if I’m correct, I was visiting the beach with my family. As we were about to pay for parking, the lady working there said that the waves were very big and the undertow was dangerously strong, and told us that it is highly recommended to stay out of the water. And, well, she wasn’t kidding. The waves were twice the size of me, and they crashed right onto the shore. I recognized this and decided to listen. At first. So I decided to just play in the sand with my siblings, making sandcastles and creating animals out of the sand. I decided to look at the water and it had appeared to slow down. And me, being a naive child, decided that it was safe to go in. I looked towards my family, all of which were tanning, so they didn’t notice me sprinting towards the water. I got about waist deep, until I felt a sharp pull at my legs. I was brought off my feet and swiftly went to what would be deeper water. Only the ground didn’t get lower. I was lifted up into a wave that was three times my size, or at least that’s how big it felt. Everything seemed to just slow down. My head emerged at the top of the wave, and I noticed all the faces on the beach were looking straight at me. That’s when I shot downwards. The waves threw me down with seismic power and slammed me against the soft sandy beach. I couldn’t breath for a short while because the impact had winded me. Thankfully, I had not gotten injured in any way. Perhaps if I had landed on a harder surface, more damage would have been done. That afternoon I thought about how bad of a mistake that was, and for a while I never wanted to swim again. But now I love swimming and it has become a common for me to jump into the water with big waves again because I now know my limits.

Kahneman tells us a lot about cognitive fallacies in “Don’t Blink”. He introduces this concept by explaining his first bad judgement to the reader. When he trained army recruits to see who could potentially be a commanding officer in the near future, he would give them a difficult task with people they didn’t know. They would see who could take charge in situations that required teamwork. When he sent the results to his own commanding officer, he was told that his feedback was useless, and didn’t benefit anyone. Although he was told this, he was too focused on believing he was right, and continued doing the same thing over and over. He notices that this is a cognitive fallacy, or a mental mistake. Although his story was much different than my own, they both revolve around making a mistake. This sort of belief is based off a story one makes inside their own head. This story is to give coherence to support a mistake, to help one believe that they are not wrong. This may leave out details to help the one making the story, and creates a bias, because they refuse to believe that they’re wrong. Kahneman claims that everyone does it, however some cases can be a little more noticeable than others.

Making Cognitive fallacies is not essentially the worst thing that can happen to someone, but bad decisions are important for learning new lessons. Being wrong can show you where you went wrong and how you may be able to change or maybe even fix it. Being able to notice your own mistakes can prove that you will make errors, and these errors will better you as a choice maker and even as a person.

My Learning Experiences

I believe my learning experiences are what made me a better writer and athlete. I have developed many learning strategies throughout my time, and these new strategies have greatly improved my abilities. As a student, I have developed reading and writing strategies that have noticeably improved my skills. As an athlete, I have come up with my own practices which allowed me to become a better player. I have been slowly tweaking my skills to improve myself as much as I possibly can. My goal in life is to improve myself as much as I can, and let other people help fill in the areas that I am unable to complete myself. I feel that if I can improve myself as much as possible, I will be able to learn more than if someone else were to teach me. I could start to notice my own errors, and be able to fix them in a way that I find comfortable.