TEEN SEX It's in the air: Lyrics say it all
Racy songs have lost their shock value to many young people.
By VERONICA GORLEY
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
Trace music back a few generations, to when allusions to sex were minor and well hidden.
Today, lyrics are blatant, explicit, graphic.
Take pop singer Willa Ford's song, "I Wanna Be Bad":
...So, boy, say the time and place 'cause you make me wanna misbehave. I wanna be bad...
She's not talking about cutting class.
The song has been among the 40 most popular songs in recent weeks, according to WeeklyTop40.com. It's sung by elementary-age kids and young adults alike.
Meaning: Though younger generations sing along to the catchy tune, do they realize what the lyrics mean?
"I really don't pay attention to the lyrics or what they're about. I listen to it if they have a good beat or they're happening," said Dan Paloski, 20, of Canfield.
Paloski said that musical artists use sex to sell their songs.
"I think sometimes they draw on their personal experiences, but what it all comes down to is that they want to make money," he stated simply.
His 16-year-old brother, Joe, added nonchalantly, "Sex -- it's there. It's going to sell, so why not use it?"
Mike Brogdon of Youngstown also offered justification for the phrases musical artists use.
"They're trying to help you understand from their perspective what's going on," the 20-year old said. "It has to be done to get the point across."
Parents, beware: Lyrics don't offend Carl Evans, 18, of Youngstown, but he said parents should know what their kids are listening to.
"My mom doesn't let my little sister listen to some things," Evans said.
Katie Libecco, 15, is concerned for young kids who sing along to the popular songs. "They don't know what it's about," the Warren resident said.
Trena Garrison of Cortland doesn't wholly agree. Garrison said she turns the radio off when she hears some graphic songs.
"Some kids it's not appropriate for," the 15-year-old said. "It depends on how mature they are."
Sean Philibin, 16, of Boardman pointed out that songs have different meanings to different people. He also said he gets embarrassed when he's driving with his parents and offensive songs are played on the radio.
Libecco agrees. "There are songs like 'Peaches and Cream' [by 112] where I say, 'Oh, my God, I don't want to hear that,'" she said.... Let me tell you what I wanna do
Let me show you that I'm feelin' you
Nothing new: Libecco pointed out that even in the 1950s, songs alluded to sex.
Consider the 1953 hit, "Rock Around the Clock," by Bill Haley and His Comets, for example:
...When it's eight, nine, ten, eleven too,
I'll be goin' strong and so will you.
We're gonna rock around the clock tonight,
We're gonna rock, rock, rock, 'til broad daylight.
We're gonna rock, gonna rock, around the clock tonight...
"People complain about lyrics today, but it goes back to the '60s," Paloski said.
"Marvin Gaye's 'Let's Get It On' -- come on. What's he talking about?" he added sarcastically. "That's what my parents listened to. It's a little more risque today. I think America has loosened up a little, and you can get away with more."
Though song lyrics offend some young people, overall they realize that's just the way it is.
"It's hard to stop," Libecco said. "You can't pinpoint it to one person. Society is on a barrel roll. I don't think there will be any stopping that."