How Can an Individual’s Sense of Identity be Communicated Through Their Choice of Music?

In today’s society individuality can be expressed in many different ways. The use of physical adornments such as clothes and makeup are the first things that spring to mind when discussing ways and methods of identification. However, with the mass media having such a huge influence on the young people of today, it is becoming very easy to determine one’s identity through the music they enjoy listening to. This essay seeks to determine how an individual identity can be clearly communicated through choices of music.
To a certain extent, music has had an interesting effect on the way individuals express their sense of identity. The 1960’s Mods and Rockers are a good example of this. Two different types of people existing in the same society, who were easily distinguished to the type of clothing they wore and their social activities- it could be argued that this has certain relevance to tastes in music. The Mods were, of course, happy to settle for the newly released music of the time. Whereas the Rockers weren’t satisfied with the new renditions and so preferred to stick with classic rock music. This eventuated in the two groups leading wholly different ways of life, and the appearances and attitudes of both groups became a likeness of the particular ‘identities’ which are recognizable in society today.
Today, there is a greater variety of music available to the mass public, and this has inevitably resulted in many different identities being formed. The 1980’s trance scene along with the new input of R ‘n’ B and Hip Hop (Black rap style music) has influenced a number of new music acts to recreate versions of the biggest hits. This has helped in creating a new identity that many nightclubs cater for. What is known as the ‘Kev’, ‘Townie’ or ‘Shaz’ has been formed! These short names are used to describe people of a certain identity. Usually people of these youth subgroups are fans of hard dance music which they listen to on a regular basis on their personal CD players in public places and are also well known for their up to date flashy mobile phones, sports clothing and tacky jewellery, as well as the occasional baseball cap. There is a rather large congregation of ‘Kevs/Townies’ on Saturday nights when they drive their flashy cars around the town centre.

‘Moshers’, ‘Goths’, ‘Metallers’ or ‘Grungers’ all form another subgroup which relies almost completely on music taste which is quite the opposite to the group discussed in the last paragraph. ‘Grungers’ are people who usually prefer to listen to music such as Nirvana and Red Hot Chili Peppers, and just generally most forms of rock and metal music. Their sense of dress is relatively easy to identify, as a certain identity has been created by the huge mass of youngsters turning to the ‘Grunger’ image in the last few years. The ‘hoodie’ has become a highly symbolic item of clothing, which many of the group members will wear when congregating. This can be teamed with baggy jeans and trousers, multiple piercings, dyed hair, visible tattoos and other common objects such as various bracelets and jewellery, although hardly ever gold or silver.
The two groups previously discussed are the two huge societies in which the members’ behaviour is almost completely influenced by popular music. As it is possible to see from the descriptions above, an individuals’ sense of identity can be relatively easy to configure when using popular music as the determining factor. Due to this, increasing amounts of youth subgroups are being formed purely by musical taste.

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