Music of any genre, location, and artist can bring people together for just about anything, which is why it’s been claimed as such a powerful art. Reggie Williams, Director of the Levan Center, Josh Ottum, Professor of Commercial Music, and Kris Tiner, Jazz Director, held a discussion of how music reflects society in the Levan Center on Oct. 25.
Williams started the evening by informing the crowd of about a dozen people about the event itself and then asked for requests for songs to play in the room. After each requested song, everyone discussed the story behind each song.
“This is the second [installment] and the idea is to connect and show how music and humanities relate in many ways,” Williams said.
The first requested song from an audience member was “All the Love We Leave Behind” by Converge. The person who requested the song provided the background and meaning of it.
The lead singer sang about his dead dog in an interesting genre, heavy metal.
“There are two different ways of writing a song. One would be to literally tell the story and the other way would be to take the mood or state of mind and present that in a way that the listener can fill in their own details,” Tiner said in the discussion that followed.
There was a small discussion on “Vaporwave” which is music with a looped track of parts of other artists’ songs.
They played examples of looped songs that consisted of lyrics from Michael Jackson and Dolly Parton.
“Dear Marcus” by Celly Ru was the next requested song from an attendee. The attendee gave an in-depth backstory of the song and artist.
“He [the rapper] lost a close friend named Marcus to gang violence. He is not very mainstream because he raps about the lifestyles they live. He doesn’t rap about what people want to hear,” he said.
Bob Ford, 60, was an attendee and he shared his music career with everyone.
He started his music career in 1968 and had a recording studio for rap artists in the bay area.
He shared this on the topic of rap music after “Dear Marcus.”
The last requested song by a female attendee was “Window Pain” by J. Cole. When she first heard the song, it moved her tremendously.
“We all go through things and when somebody speaks [in depth], we resonate with that and in a way, it moves me,” she said.
Next, Williams requested presented a song that represents controversy which was the main topic of the night. The song was “There Goes the Neighborhood” by Body Count.
“I lived in a suburban neighborhood when I grew up and we got this CD and blasted it,” Ottum elaborated on the controversial song. “The neighbors were like ‘what the.’”
Lastly, Williams enlightened everyone that the last installment of the semester is on Nov. 15.
“February, March, and April there will be three more [installments],” Williams said.