Sign of Times
A Music Anthology with Lyric Analysis
Music is a basic cultural expression of humanity, displaying its spiritual dimension in a way that philosophers still fail to express, if not grasp. From every piece of art, a specialist is able to guess what kind of society such a piece of art belongs to, and what the specific sentiments or message of the artists are. The most important aspect of a culture, generally speaking, is its moral level, because it determines directly its odds of survival in the Darwinist sense. One might ask: why morality? Why not average wealth, average life expectancy, or technological level?
These questions are addressed on the basis of the lyrics of some selected songs, taken from 16 pop-music composers: Bryan Adams, Paul McCartney, Mick Jagger, Paul Simon, Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Anderson, Sting, Bono, Roger Waters, Freddie Mercury, Mark Knopfler, Don Henley, Michael Stipes, Phil Collins, Eric Clapton, Bruce Springsteen and Robert Plant. Analysis of their lyrics unveils the startling coincidence of a period of explosive musical innovation and a proportionally implosive moral breakdown.