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Choose a song that speaks to a particular social issue
Summarize: Explain what the song you selected is about. Does it tell a particular story? Who are the central characters in the song? What theme or themes emerge?
Identify the Purpose: What is the central message in this song? Is there a subtext? What is the main idea that the songwriter is trying to get across to the listener? Does it call on the listener to take action? Think or feel differently?
Social Context: What social or historical context is the artist reflecting on? How does the song operate as an act of commentary? How does the artist’s image or persona inform his or her work and message?
Analyze the rhetorical strategies: Who is the intended audience? What is the songwriter’s stance toward the audience? Which if the “3 appeals” (ethos, pathos, logos) does it employ and how?
Consider language: How does the artist use words, metaphor, rhyme, tone, style? Note the use of symbolism, figurative and descriptive language, metaphors, etc. What is the tone of the song (humorous, sexy, angry, etc.)How do these details influence the message?
Music: What genre of music does the song fall under (or is it a fusion of genres)? What are the primary instruments in the song (drums, guitar, synthesizer, bass, or harmonica) and how does their sound compliment or complicate the meaning of the lyrics at different moments? Is the overall effect of the music one of harmony or dissonance? What is the tone (or mood) created by the music?
Organization: How does the song begin (with a brief or prolonged instrumental)? Is there a pattern of repetition in the lyrics (does the song have a chorus and a hook)? Does the song have a bridge? Is there an instrumental solo? How does the song end?
Impact: Who is the audience for this music and message? In other words, does the song achieve the songwriter’s purpose? Why or why not?How effective is this song? In other words, does it achieve the songwriter’s purpose? Why or why not?
3. Follow these Guidelines:
Organize your thoughts and your writing around a specific, well-worded thesis that identifies the song’s overall rhetorical strategy and evaluates the song’s effectiveness at persuading its audience.
Write an essay that is at least 4 pages
Summarize: Explain what the song you selected is about.