1. Choose any song. Listen to it several times in a row, even if you have previously heard it.
2. Read the lyrics carefully and critically through the lens of intercultural communication.
3. Write a critique of the lyrics following these guidelines:
- Your analysis should be 3-4 pages in length (not including a title page and a works cited page).
- Follow the directions in the “Formatting Your Essays and Paper” document.
- Write an introduction. Include the song title, artist, and the year when the song was released. Also, describe the song’s genre.
- Include the song lyrics word-for-word, which you should be able to locate on the internet. The lyrics do not count as part of your 3-4 pages.
- Interpret the cultural implications of the song lyrics and analyze the significance of the patterns you identify. Support your reasoning with information from the textbook. Consider the questions grouped by textbook chapter below. You are not required to answer all of the questions.
- Cite the textbook at least four times. Give page numbers when citing or referencing concepts from the textbook.
4. Include the statement of originality.
5. Submit your song lyrics critique to the Extra Credit folder in Dropbox.
What type of culture is depicted in the song lyrics?
What does this culture value – youth? wealth? beauty? fame? technology?
What do the song lyrics communicate about the dominant and/or co-cultures in the United States or in the song lyrics’ country of origin?
Are natural resources mentioned in the song lyrics? What do the song lyrics communicate about the use of these natural resources?
Are any environmental issues raised by the song lyrics? Explain.
Is there any evidence of globalization in the song lyrics?
What is the overt message of the song lyrics? What is the covert message of the song lyrics?
What is the communication function of the song lyrics: to gather information, to fulfill interpersonal needs, to establish personal identities, and/or to influence others?
Do the song lyrics make any historical references? Explain.
What traditional gender roles are challenged by the song lyrics? What gender roles are affirmed? How?
What age groups are represented in the song lyrics? What do the song lyrics communicate about these age groups?
Do the song lyrics in any way promote the ideas of individualism or of collectivism? Explain.
What social organizations are depicted in the song lyrics – family? government? military? schools? churches? community groups? What do the song lyrics communicate about these social organizations?
How do the song lyrics relate to the deep structure of American culture?
What type of worldview do the song lyrics communicate?
Are there any references to religion or to religious behaviors in the song lyrics? What do the song lyrics communicate about religion?
What different identities are represented in the song lyrics?
Are the song lyrics based on ethnocentric ideas or stereotypes? Explain.
How do the song lyrics depict particular racial or ethnic groups?
Are there any references to clothing or to fashion in the song lyrics? What do the song lyrics communicate about clothing, fashion, and/or appearance?
Do the song lyrics mention a particular political issue or political cause? What do the song lyrics communicate about the issue or cause?
How do the song lyrics affirm the dominant American cultural patterns? How do they challenge the dominant American cultural patterns?
Do the song lyrics reference the notion of power distance?
Do the song lyrics reveal more masculine or feminine traits?
How is language used in the song lyrics and what does it communicate about age, gender, and socio-income levels?
How does the language used in the song lyrics reflect cultural values?
Is argot or slang used in the lyrics? How?
Are specific corporate brands and/or logos mentioned in the song lyrics? What do they communicate?
Is a body movement and/or a gesture (i.e. a smile, a kiss, etc.) mentioned in the song lyrics? What does the description of the action communicate?
Is a sense of time referenced in the song lyrics? If so, what do the song lyrics communicate about time?
What is the communication context of the song? In other words, how do the lyrics fit into the broader cultural patterns associated with the genre and the intended audience?
What are the “rules” that govern communication within the genre? What kinds of language or words are commonly used in the genre? Which topics or issues are commonly referenced in the genre? Which topics or issues are considered taboo in the genre?
Do the song lyrics reference wealth or the business setting? If so, what do the song lyrics communicate about the cultural view of wealth and the economy?
Is competition or collaboration valued in the song lyrics? How so?
Do the song lyrics reference gaining knowledge or receiving an education? If so, what do the song lyrics communicate about the cultural view of schooling and formal/informal education?
Do the song lyrics mention any beliefs associate with death and/or dying? If so, what do the song lyrics communicate about the cultural view of death and the afterlife?
Do the song lyrics reflect moral absolutism or cultural relativism? How so?
What types of emotional response do the lyrics elicit from you? What does this indicate about your culture?