Music Analysis Essay Sample


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Music Analysis Essay


In this paper, I chose five songs that were created in the 20th century. Each song represents its own soul and themes that are eternal. That is, I chose major rock bands’ songs for analyzing. Two of the song belongs to Iron Maiden. These songs are Run to the hills and The Prisoner. Both songs were major singles in the 20th century, and they represented hard rock. The third song that I chose is from Metallica, and it is called Whenever I may roam. Metallica produced this song at the beginning of the 90s, and it became a major hit. The fourth song is from The Smashing Pumpkins, and the song is called Bullet with a butterfly. The last song that I chose for this paper is from Black Sabbath, which is Changes.

Body Paragraphs

The metal hard rock bands' songs contain association to themes that we discussed in course content. Therefore, this paper addresses the connection between themes and songs that are relevant to the course. Also, one can find explicit details in the songs' lyrics and connect them to the era, and society. Firstly, Iron Maiden is a heavy metal band that was founded in 1975. One can say that they gained a great success, and within ten years, they created major hits. Run to the hills is one of the greatest hits in their career. They produced this song in 1981 with the introduction of Bruce Dickinson. The song includes the story of the colonization of America from the viewpoint of both the indigenous people and the invading forces. Therefore, one can argue that the significance of the song is in its theme: nationalism and colonization.

The song's composition comprises of high notes that include bass, guitar, drum, and solo of Bruce Dickinson. The entre of the song starts with these lines "The white man came across the sea, he brought us pain, and misery, he killed our tribes he killed our creed." (“Iron Maiden,” 2020). These lines are clearly pointing out the colonialism of America. In this sense, the song associates with the history of America. Also, Iron Maiden accomplishes to express their stance by creating this song.

Iron Maiden’s song includes their perspective about society, economics, and individualism because they were expressing their ideas and stance by creating songs. More specifically, another song that I chose from Iron Maiden is The Prisoner, and this song includes explicit lines that represent their point of view about freedom. In other words, their stance through their perspective is seen in the song's beginning. It starts with a conversation that belongs to a show. Throughout the series, Number Six tries to find out whom Number One is while thwarting the scheming Number Two, who is played by several different actors during the series' lone season. Also, the Number Six is being monitored by people, and despite his efforts to escape, he is a prisoner (“Rock History 101,” 2020). Therefore, the song’s lines start with these words “We want information, information, information,” and it ends with these lines “I am not a number. I am a free man.” (“Iron Maiden,” 2020) Behind The Prisoner's story, there is great intelligence because Iron Maiden manages to criticize freedom and other concepts.

The Prisoner is connected to the theme of nationalism because it criticizes the concept of freedom, and it provides reasoning to the song's basis. Therefore, The Prisoner song's soul discusses important questions about self and individualism. It criticizes modern society and its beliefs in democracy. Also, one can say that Iron Maiden band never hesitates to discuss, and criticize the matters that are important for both individuals and society. In this direction, their song became famous in the 20th century.

The Prisoner reminds modern people to place in society and discusses modern people responsibilities as a citizen in society to themselves and others. Therefore, the song connects with several different themes. Metallica’s Whenever I Roam song is one of the eternal songs that were created in the 20th century. Whenever I Roam is a representative of Metallica's heavy metal productions. It focuses on telling the narrative of staying on the road as a free man and doing whatever they want. More specifically, it includes the belonging theme of individualism because the lyrics of the song point out their sense of belonging to the roads. The song starts with guitar solo until lyrics start. More specifically, rhythm in the song reflects Metallica's adventures as the rhythm slows down when lyrics start. The song starts with these lines "And the road becomes my wife, I have stripped of all but pride, So in her, I do confide, And she keeps me satisfied." (“Metallica- Whenever,” 2020). This part clearly points out their sense of belonging to their lives as a famous metal band.

Whenever I Roam song brings Metallica major success in the 90s, and they start touring around the world. Therefore, the lyrics of the song focuses on reflecting their life on the run, chasing tours and performing. The song is eternal because in the 90s, Metallica usually performed the song frequently during their live concerts, and the song was played with San Francisco Symphony Orchestra on the album S&M. Also, it became one of the main songs of Guitar Hero in the 21st century, and the song took its place among video games. Therefore, Metallica and their song Whenever I Roam became an epic song even in the 21st century (“Metallica Wiki,” 2020).

The Fourth song that I chose is from Black Sabbath, Changes. More specifically, the song carries a different significance to the band. The Black Sabbath broke the perceptions of heavy metal song norm, and they created a slow rhythm song in the 70s. Therefore, it has its unique soul among other Black Sabbath songs. For several years, the chorus from "Changes", performed by the late soul artist Charles Bradley, it has been the intro music to the Netflix animated comedy Big Mouth (Moore, 2020). Therefore, Changes is one of the eternal songs in the 20th century because today, society is still listening to this song.

Changes start with these lines "I feel unhappy; I feel so sad, I've lost a best friend that I ever had" (“Black Sabbath,” 2020). In this direction, Changes is an emotional song that reaches deep though the souls of listeners. The topics in the song do not associate with any themes that heavy metal bands use in their songs. More specifically, it focuses on the band's emotional expressions to their listeners. Therefore, it has a unique soul.

The last song that I chose for this paper belongs to The Smashing Pumpkins. The band is one of the metal-punk band that was founded in the 20th century. For instance, the main theme of Bullet with butterfly wings associates with transnationalism because it criticizes nationalism. The song starts with these lines “The world is a vampire, sent to drain, secret destroyers, hold you up to the flames” ("The Smashing Pumpkins," 2020). In these lines, The Smashing Pumpkins point out the destroyed world that is surrounded by nationalism. The narrative of the song implies that the world is on the verge of destruction. Also, the song brings attention to social classes. That is, it points out the rat society, and the song makes of human nature. It uses metaphors for expressing the band's ideas and their point of view. Its summary includes a narrative about a person who wants to change, but he is doomed to the same fate as everyone else; he cannot be changed or saved (Turner, 2020). One can argue that the song is created for mocking human idealism and their efforts to accomplish their goals. In this sense, The Smash Pumpkins suggests that they are different from ideal humans because the fate of others dooms them.

In the 21st century, there are various types of music and styles. More specifically, there are a lot of options when creating a playlist, and over the years, my playlist has expanded even more because there are many new songs that I tend to listen. However, the songs that I chose for this paper are eternal songs, and they are different from popular music genres in the 21st century. In this sense, these songs have unique places in every playlist as it reflects ideas about individualism, transnationalism, and belonging. They are different because they reflect unique ideas and movements when compared with today’s genres. In my playlist, there are hundreds of new and old tracks that belong to both the 20th century and 21st century. Therefore, these songs are hidden deep in my playlist as they belong to the 20th century. I prefer to listen to music according to my mood, and in my playlist, there are a lot of great songs that I love to listen to. These songs cannot show up in my playlist if I listen to every song in order because these songs are one of the first songs that I added to my playlist. One can infer that these songs can only show up in my playlist if I search their names in the playlist.


To sum up, I chose five songs that were produced in the 20th century, and I analyzed each song’s concepts main themes and its relevance to the course topic. In this direction, I connected each song with their themes and style. Accordingly, old bands tend to reflect the sociological, economic, and political drawbacks that individuals used to face, when compared with today’s mainstream pop culture. After all, one can readily highlight that these songs are like wines, and we understand the true meaning, reflection, and soul of them as they age through the decades.


Black Sabbath - Changes Lyrics. SongMeanings.

Iron Maiden: The Story Behind Run To The Hills. Kerrang!

Iron Maiden – Run to the Hills. Genius.

Iron Maiden – The Prisoner. Genius. (1982, March 22).

Metallica - Wherever I May Roam Lyrics Meaning. Lyric Interpretations.

Moore, R. (2020, April 27). American Songwriter. .

Rock History 101: Iron Maiden - "The Prisoner". Consequence of Sound. (2014, January 16).

The Smashing Pumpkins – Bullet with Butterfly Wings. Genius. (1995, October 23).

Turner, A. Brief lyrical analysis–"Bullet with Butterfly Wings". The Talon..

Wherever I May Roam (song). Metallica Wiki..

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