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This Is Me 0 C. Ausloos This Is Me Music Being Reviewed: Pasek, B. & Paul, J. (2017). This Is Me [Recorded by Settle, K. & The Greatest Showman Ensemble]. On The Greatest Showman [CD]. New York, NY: Atlantic Records. Reviewer: Clark Ausloos Genre: Popular/Top Hits, Other Suggested Age Range: Everyone Subject Headings: Body Image, Depression, LGBTQ+ Issues, Multicultural/Cross-cultural Issues, Racial/Ethnic Identity, Social Justice Review: “This is Me” is a song made popular by the blockbuster film, The Greatest Showman. The song’s lyrics are a narrative on societal influences on a person’s self-esteem, self-worth and personal growth. The song takes listeners on a journey from deep despair and suffering (“hide away, they say, 'cause we don't want your broken parts”) to resilience, strength, self-compassion, and self-acceptance (“look out 'cause here I come, and I'm marching on to the beat I drum”). Each verse describes the ways in which others discredit and invalidate a person based on appearance and personal characteristics. Throughout the beautifully structured lyrics, listeners are introduced to strength-based mantras, like “I won’t let them break me down to dust” and “I’m not scared to be seen, I make no apologies, this is me”. These lyrics fill the listener with hope and confidence, matching the songs’ ever-growing anthem-like melodic phrasing and rhythms. Musically, the song begins with sparse melodic backing and choral support. As the song continues and the lyrics become increasingly strong and confident, so too does the soaring melodies, instrumental support and rhythmic intensity. While this song is important for clients of varying presenting issues, the lyrics and melody together are especially impactful for clients of diversity, who may feel marginalized, oppressed or devalued, including clients with body image issues, LGBQA and gender minorities, multicultural and cross-cultural populations, and those varying ability and disability statuses. Additionally, the song may be used for increasing radical self-acceptance for clients struggling with trauma or PTSD. Particularly impactful lyrics include “I am brave, I am bruised, I am who I’m meant to be, this is me”. The song is helpful in reinforcing empowerment, strength-based mantras and positive self-talk for clients with low self-esteem. It can be used in individual counseling sessions, to help the client remind themselves of their worth and value. It may also be used in group settings, where counselors may choose to dissect the lyrics and engage clients in processing the song lyrics and how the lyrics might relate to their own lives. Additionally, the song contains no inappropriate or sensitive language for children, so this can be used in school settings as well. It is an appropriate song to use in conjunction with a school’s anti-bullying campaign, classroom guidance lesson or small group counseling setting.
by C. Ausloos
Thursday, November 15, 2018
1-800-273-8255 (Logic ft. Alessia Cara & Khalid) 0 T. Johnson 1-800-273-8255 (Logic ft. Alessia Cara & Khalid) Music Being Reviewed: Hall II, R., Ivatury, A., Carracciolo, A., Robinson, K. (2017). 1-800-273-8255 [Recorded by Logic ft. Alessia Cara & Khalid]. On Everybody [CD]. New York, NY: Def Jam Recordings. Reviewer: Tanisha Johnson Genre: Other Suggested Age Range: Teens, Parental guidance is suggested Subject Headings: Depression, Self-injurious behavior, Trauma Review: This review is about a popular song that clients may discuss in sessions. Logic, the assumed name of a hip hop recording artist, and his guest artists Alessia Cara and Khalid released the song 1-800-273-8255, which is titled after the National Suicide Hotline (NSH) phone number. The song begins with the artist singing about his current difficulties in life and reasons why he initially wanted to die in a call to the NSH. The chorus repeats, “I don’t want to be alive. I just want to die.” The caller sings about feeling like no one cares about his life and feeling alone. The artists ask, “Who can relate?” The song transitions to the NSH operator singing, “I want you to be alive. You don’t gotta die today.” The operator continues the song identifying reasons for the caller not to die despite the difficulties in life. After reciting reasons why the caller should consider life, the caller sings, “I finally wanna be alive.” The song walks through some thoughts of a person with suicidal thoughts. The song offers hope for a person with suicidal thoughts because the NSH has a support person available. The song reminds the listener that there are reasons to live, despite difficulties like loneliness, feeling no one cares, or not seeing the value in one’s own life. The artists remind the listener that one should “hold one even though the road is long,” and that every “day has a little night.” For clients who experience suicidal thoughts, the song may help clients understand types of reasons for suicidal thoughts and remind the client about reasons to live.
by T. Johnson
Friday, August 11, 2017
Bridge (Queensrÿche) 0 E. Painter Bridge (Queensrÿche) Music Being Reviewed: DeGarmo, C. (1994). Bridge [Recorded by Queensrÿche]. On Promised Land [CD]. Los Angeles, CA: EMI. Reviewer: Everett Painter Genre: Heavy Metal, Other Suggested Age Range: Adults Only Subject Headings: Communication, Grief & loss, Relationships Review: Bridge is a primarily acoustic track released in 1994 by progressive rock band Queensrÿche on the album Promised Land. Guitarist Chris DeGarmo wrote the song about his own strained relationship with his father, who spent decades estranged from Chris. The track opens with the phrase, “Called me up today, struggling with the right words to say,” establishing the troubled communication reflective of fractured such relationships while recognizing the role time may play during periods of separation. The song has another related phrase, “time has changed the lives of me and you” that reflects the notion that time that separated people provides a further barrier to connection. The track goes on to explain the pain experienced from the perspective of a child dreaming about a time sitting next to his father receiving encouragement, “telling me I can” and then confronting the father with, “you know, you’re not there.” Often in such situations there may be efforts to shortcut the process necessary for working through emotions, a failure to accept responsibility for one’s role in the situation, or even the delivery of empty promises. The child in this story experiences those things and explains to the father that he is “trying to mend a bridge that’s been blown apart.” Then, DeGarmo comes the recognition there was never a bridge to begin with in the lyrics, “you never built it Dad.” The thematic content tackled here can be appreciated as it mirrors scenarios counselors encounter across various counseling settings. The bridge section of the song acknowledged the pain and loss experienced in such relationships. In the end of the song, the child developed deeper understanding while still struggling with the realities of the relationship. The content of this track would be useful for adult clients who experienced difficult or estranged parental relationships and are seeking either meaning and/or reconciliation. This song may be used in session to allow clients to reflect upon their problematic relationships or to facilitate writing homework to more deeply explore the tension, emotions, and difficulty involved. Such work is important as clients often struggle to put these confusing experiences into words. The lyrical content is directly applicable for helping clients in the beginning stages of mending or building their own interpersonal bridges.
by E. Painter
Wednesday, June 28, 2017
Beautiful (Christina Aguilera) 0 S. Logan-McKibben Beautiful (Christina Aguilera) Music Being Reviewed: Perry, L. (2002). Beautiful [Recorded by Christina Aguilera]. On Stripped [CD]. New York City, NY: RCA Records Reviewer: Sandra Logan Genre: Popular/Top Hits Suggested Age Range: Everyone Subject Headings: Body image, Family dynamics, GLBT issues, Grief & loss, Heath/wellness, High school, Middle school, Multicultural/cross-cultural issues, Poverty-urban, Poverty-rural, PTSD, Racial ethnic identity, Racial/ethnic politics, Relationships, Sexual abuse, Spiritual journey, Spiritual practice, Trauma, Violence-assault, Violence-domestic, War Review: “Beautiful” by Christina Aguilera is a song that promotes self-confidence and self-esteem while focusing on inner beauty. One of the key messages of the song is to not let the criticisms of others bring you down. A part of the chorus is   “You are beautiful no matter what they say Words can't bring you down You are beautiful in every single way.” Not only do the lyrics of the song provide a source of personal empowerment for the listener, but the music video provides additional inspiration and support, particularly to the LGBTQ community, by displaying a positive portrayal of gay and transgender individuals. The use of this song can be used with a variety of clients, in a variety of settings. For example, this song could be used within school counseling with a small group of students, with the focus being on self-empowerment as well as possibly gender identity. Students could listen to this song and then process the experience individually or as a group. Another use could be when conducting individual counseling within a clinical setting. A client could be instructed to listen to the song (and/or watch the music video) along with the counselor and then be asked to verbally reflect upon the meaning of the song, or be instructed to journal about one’s reflection and insight. Clients that are demonstrating challenges in their identity and self-esteem would be best suited to listen to this song and/or watch the music video.
by S. Logan-McKibben
Monday, November 28, 2016
Try (Colbie Caillat) 0 A. Juette Try (Colbie Caillat)Music Being Reviewed:Caillat, C., Edmonds, K., Dixon, A., & Reeves, J. (2014). Try [Recorded by Colbie Caillat]. On Gypsy Heart [CD]. New York, NY: Republic Records.Reviewer:Juette AshleyGenre:Folk Popular/Top HitsSuggested Age Range:EveryoneSubject Headings:Body image, College, High school, Middle schoolReview:The writer of this song shows within the first couple of verses what outward changes are expected for a female to fit in with the mainstream culture’s ideas of beauty. The writer details the importance of staying slim and wearing makeup. The writer also goes on to describe that being sexy and outgoing are also valuable to fitting in. Resonating throughout this song are the questions "do they like you?” and "do you like you?”. The chorus is uplifting in its message that a person shouldn’t have to change themselves to fit in and to give up so much of one’s self to please others. This is where the song’s title comes from and the chorus reminds the listeners "you don’t have to try." By the last verse, the writer poses the question "don’t you like you?” after everyone is gone and the makeup is washed off. This song can be used with middle school, high school, and adult females who are struggling with body image issues as the song sends a strong message of accepting yourself for who you are instead of changing to please others. This song may be useful for people struggling with the idea of fitting into a certain crowd based on looks and societal standards of beauty as the message given is that a person doesn’t have to try to fit in or change anything, but just be themselves every day.
by A. Juette
Wednesday, February 17, 2016
Bad Blood (Bastille) 0 A. Keller Bad Blood (Bastille)Music Being Reviewed:Smith, D. (2012). Bad blood [Recorded by Bastille]. On Bad Blood [CD]. London, England: Virgin Records.Reviewer:Anna KellerGenre:Popular/Top HitsSuggested Age Range:EveryoneSubject Headings:Aging, Anger, Codependency, Depression, Divorce, Relationships, TraumaReview:With a catchy tune and a dark undercurrent beat, "Bad Blood" narrates a friendship gone wrong. The singer explains that the small details and memories of days past are what define the relationship, but now things have gone sour. He says that there is bad blood but that bringing up the tension and reliving the negative events are harmful and that he doesn’t want to hear about it anymore. The bad blood is old, so it is said to be better to simply let it dry and leave what is passed in the past. In the context of a therapy experience, this song can be very useful in assisting in the process of letting things go. From grief to a bad romantic relationship, it never hurts to use a variety of tools in a journey of moving on from something painful, and music is excellent and can resonate easily with a variety of people. A helpful factor about this particular song is its vagueness; it mentions friendship, but the lyrics are general about letting go of hurtful events, so it can be applied in a variety of situations. The song says, "if we’re only ever looking back, we will drive ourselves insane,” and indeed, in many situations where people are not letting go of something, all they are doing is dwelling on the past. Past events cannot be changed, so having what is essentially a theme song to listen to whenever rumination begins can be a helpful corrective behavior.
by A. Keller
Wednesday, February 17, 2016
Under the Bridge (Red Hot Chili Peppers) 0 L. Zeiger Under the Bridge (Red Hot Chili Peppers)Music Being Reviewed:Kiedis, A., Frusciante, J., Smith, C. & Balzary, M. (1991). Under the bridge [Recorded by Red Hot Chili Peppers]. On Blood Sugar Sex Magik [CD]. New York: Warner Brothers.Reviewer:Lauren ZeigerGenre:Popular/Top Hits, Punk RockSuggested Age Range:Adults OnlySubject Headings:Substance abuse-drugsReview:This song is most appropriate for usage in substance abuse counseling, although it could be used with clients who are dealing with things such as depression, isolation, and general emotional turmoil. I have utilized this in both individual and the group counseling setting at a substance abuse treatment agency. The song describes the lead singer's loneliness and his destructive relationship with narcotics. It is useful to utilize lyric analysis with this song in that it has very emotional, deep lyrics although it is set to an upbeat tempo. The band purposefully paired upbeat chords with these lyrics. A final decision to end the song with a large chorus was made by producers.The song describes the isolation and emotional turmoil of the lead singer while reflecting on his heroin and cocaine addiction. Although the song is dark and emotional, the singer indicates that he does not regret getting clean. He penned this after earning three years sobriety. His positivity about his current life circumstances is reflected in the chorus: "I don’t ever want to feel/like I did that day/Take me to the place I love.” The title of the song reflects the lengths to which the singer would go to in order to feed his addiction. I’ve found that many of my clients have related to these lyrics and find the song to be enjoyable. It is a song that many people know, but has a lot of deeper meaning that could be reflected on. You could also include some information about the singer and his struggle with addiction.
by L. Zeiger
Wednesday, February 17, 2016
Elastic Heart (Sia) 0 K. Feather Elastic Heart (Sia)Music Being Reviewed:Furler, S., Pentz, W., Tesfaye, A., & Swanson, A. (2014). Elastic heart [Recorded by Sia]. On 1000 Forms of Fear [CD]. New York, New York: RCA Records.Reviewer:Katherine FeatherGenre:Electronic Popular/Top HitsSuggested Age Range:EveryoneSubject Headings:Codependency, Depression, Grief & loss, RelationshipsReview:"Elastic Heart” (2014) by Australian singer/songwriter Sia is a powerful ballad emphasizing the complexities of ending a relationship and experiencing this loss. Sia creates a narrative that is emotionally charged and melancholy, but also hints at the determination to move forward. She begins the song processing her frustration over her failed relationship and letting her heart rule her head. She expresses the need to find peace and her resolve to not be hurt again. The significant lyrics of the chorus outline the relentless struggle she experiences and her determination not to "fall apart.” Sia’s powerful message regarding the inner-struggle of ending a relationship can be used in the counseling process. This song can be utilized to encourage clients to process their grief of loosing a partner and the struggle to move past the experience. The emotionally charged song can elicit many feelings, which can be used in therapy as a processing tool. Furthermore, the significance of an "elastic heart” can also be discussed and how the client symbolizes this lyric. For instance, processing the pros and cons of what it means to have an "elastic heart” is suggested. In addition, having an "elastic heart” can also resonate with clients who have a history of abusive relationship(s) and utilizing the lyric of "fighting for peace.” All in all, this song can be a tool for clients who are in the midst of working through their grief and empowering those to move forward to find their inner-strength.
by K. Feather
Wednesday, February 17, 2016
Father of Mine (Everclear) 0 J. Gerlach Father of Mine (Everclear)Music Being Reviewed:Alexakis, A. (1997). Father of mine [Recorded by Everclear]. On So Much for the Afterglow [CD]. Los Angeles, CA: Capitol Records.Reviewer:Jennifer GerlachSuggested Age Range:EveryoneSubject Headings:Anger, College, Divorce, Family dynamics, Grief & loss, Prison, Relationships, Violence-domestic Review:"Father of Mine” is an anger anthem from the alternative rock/punk music of Everclear. The lead singer details the complicated relationship and mixed emotions he has with his absentee father. He notes the happy memories he experienced with his father as well as the domestic violence he witnessed, thus compounding his anger and confusion. The chorus of the song directly deals with abandonment as they sing, "My daddy gave me a name, and then he walked away.” This song could be used with adolescents and older, but particularly with adolescents who have struggled with an absentee parent due to divorce, incarceration, abandonment, etc. It is important to consider the reference to domestic violence in the lyrics when choosing an appropriate client population. It can be used individually, but also in the group setting to evoke emotions and discussion on the group’s shared experience of abandonment. I have used this in a group setting with high school students who are the children of divorce. A copy of the lyrics for each person was given and then we listened to the song. This was a fairly emotional experience for these students, but it generated rich discussion about the anger, hostility, and disappointment they harbored for a parent. A discussion on the universality of the group experience
by J. Gerlach
Wednesday, February 17, 2016
Let It Rain (Zac Brown Band) 0 W. McKibben Let It Rain (Zac Brown Band)Music Being Reviewed:Brown, Z. (2014). Let it rain [Recorded by Zac Brown Band]. On The Grohl Sessions, Vol. 1 [CD]. Nashville, TN: Southern Ground Nashville.Reviewers:Bradley McKibben & Devon RomeroGenre:CountrySuggested Age Range:EveryoneSubject Headings:Anxiety disorders, Bipolar disorders, Depression, Female lifespan development, Grief & loss, Heath/wellness, Male lifespan developmentReview:Combining harmonic vocals, uptempo instrumentals, and inspiring lyrics, Zac Brown Band’s "Let It Rain” is a stirring modern country song in which the singer learns to meet challenges head on. The song opens with the admittance that one is struggling: "Maybe I’m wounded, the pain it is passing…” Then, the song plunges into an uplifting chorus portraying confidence and courage in the face of struggle: "Let it rain, let it pour…” The chorus concludes with, "There’s no room left for darkness when you’re filled with the light, it comes out.” From here, the song reframes pain and struggle as an opportunity for growth and for moving forward: "The truth hurts the worst so you might as well face it, so the slate can again be wiped clean…” The message in "Let It Rain” aligns with the notion of radical acceptance in Dialectical Behavior Therapy. Thus, the song fits well with clients who are struggling with something that appears to them to be overwhelming or insurmountable (e.g., depressive episode, anxiety, grief/loss). The song affirms that the process of facing and overcoming adversity can be incredibly difficult, while also highlighting the rewarding potential for relief and growth if one faces issues directly and finds one’s voice. A counselor may wish to play the song in session or to have a client listen to the song for homework, then to process the song with the client, paying particular attention to affirming one’s struggle while also recognizing one’s power to overcome it.
by W. McKibben
Wednesday, September 30, 2015
Shake It Off (Taylor Swift) 1 S. Preston-Josey Suzanne & Racheal - thanks for the review. I think this is a great song that does seem to help empower people to let go of what others say. My mom told me about it and how she loved the message. Your review encouraged me to watch the video and look at the lyrics. Thanks for your contribution. I think it adds to one of my favorite sayings "what you think of me is none of my business."
by C. Wolf
Wednesday, January 28, 2015
Live Your Life (Yuna) 0 M. Huggins Live Your Life (Yuna)Music Being Reviewed:Mat Zara'ai, Y., & Williams, P. (2012). Live your life [Recorded by Yuna]. On Yuna [CD]. New York, NY: Fader Label.Reviewer:Marie HugginsGenre:Cultural Popular/Top Hits OtherSuggested Age Range:EveryoneSubject Headings:Aging, Body image, Career, College, Communication, GLBT issues, High school, Middle school, Multicultural/cross-cultural issues, Racial/ethnic identity, Racial/ethnic politics, Sexuality, Spiritual journey, Spiritual practice, Social justiceReview:"Live Your Life” is a song performed by Yuna, a Malaysian singer, songwriter, and businesswoman and produced by Grammy Award winning producer Pharrell Williams. This song is off of her 2012 self-entitled album Yuna. Verse 1 of the song provides a directive for the listener to find their "light”. This line in particular invokes the listener to dig deeper to find their passion. The song then elaborates how one should avoid hiding from who they are and aspire for more. This poignant line acts as an encourager to pursue aspirations all while staying true to their identity. Verses 2 & 3 of the song further explain the journey the listener is on to find something "amazing” and how their dreams seem "just so far away” up to this point but now one can actually envision themselves accomplishing their goals and it doesn’t seem impossible. The chorus repeats with "Live if you really want to” which further elaborates that we have choice to live the life we want to live and to live it to the fullest if we want to. Counselors can utilize this powerful and positive song to assist a variety of clients (adolescents, adults, GBLTQ, College Students, Multi-Cultural, etc.) as a way to empower their goals and identity. This song sheds light into uncovering their hopes and dreams and lends courage and support to those facing daily frustrations and setbacks. I enjoyed seeing her live in concert and her musical collection which is full of motivational medleys that I encourage everyone to take a listen to brighten their day and to better serve clients in the realm of counseling.
by M. Huggins
Wednesday, October 29, 2014
True to Myself (Ziggy Marley) 0 S. Bell True to Myself (Ziggy Marley)Music Being Reviewed:Marley, D. (2003). True to myself [Recorded by Ziggy Marley]. On Dragonfly [CD]. Los Angeles, CA: Private Music.Reviewers:Shanna Bell & Jeff WarrenGenre:ReggaeSuggested Age Range:EveryoneSubject Headings:Female lifespan development, GLBT issues, High school, Male lifespan development, Middle school, Relationships Review:True to Myself, by Ziggy Marley, is a very powerful song on his 2003 album, Dragonfly. Verse 1 of this upbeat song suggests life has changed and it is important to face reality. Each day is different than the last there are no "do overs.” Therefore, as the song suggests not waiting for other to make you happy. The song continues by emphasizing the value of self-reflection and evaluation. Verse 2 encourages us to deal with the truth, otherwise self-destruction will occur. The verse suggests loving our self and taking a stand to be who we truly are. Verse 3 presents a climax as the song describes the pain and anguish experienced as a decision was made to "move on.” A sense of relief is felt as the song ends suggesting freedom and happiness has been reached. The chorus ties the verses together by sending a very simple, yet important message, "be true to yourself. Counselors can use this song as a tool when working with a variety of clients (adolescents and older) struggling with self-awareness, self-concept, and decision-making. Adolescents can be especially susceptible to peer pressure and feel the need to "fit in.” This song offers encouragement and empowers clients to be their self and "face reality.” This song can also be used when working with LGBTQ clients ready to "come out” to their family members. Clients may realize how destructive it can be to hide the truth, simply to please others. In couples counseling, as a homework assignment, partners could review the lyrics of the song as a way to begin to re-establish themselves individually within the relationship.
by S. Bell
Thursday, October 2, 2014
Breathe Me (Sia) 0 N. Stargell Breathe Me (Sia)Music Being Reviewed:Furler, S. & Carey, D. (2004). Breathe me [Recorded by Sia]. On Colour the small one [CD maxi]. Rye, England: Heliocentric Studios.Reviewer:Nicole AdamsonGenre:Jazz, Popular/Top HitsSuggested Age Range:Everyone, Teen Subject Headings:Depression, Female lifespan development, Relationships Review:Released in 2004 by Australian artist Sia, "Breathe Me” is a calming, melodic song that highlights difficulties faced by individuals with negative cognitions and depressive symptoms. This song does not include explicit or especially controversial lyrics and would be suitable for use with clients with formal operational thought. The theoretical grounding for use of this song in counseling is Adlerian and Cognitive-Behavioral Theory (CBT). Adler suggested the concept of socio in which humans crave connection with one another. Through this song, clients can learn how another individual might experience similar mental health difficulties and gain a sense of connection with Sia and the counselor. CBT can be used to help clients identify core automatic thoughts and fully experience the associated feelings and behaviors. Counselors can then lead clients to challenge portions of such unhelpful thoughts with compassion and empathy.In the song "Breathe Me”, Sia begins by explaining her own cycle of negative cognitions and painful feelings, for which she blames herself. Clients can be encouraged to identify patterns in their own lives of negative cognitions and self-blame (CBT). The chorus then explains a phenomenon of feeling small and insignificant, to which many clients with depressive symptoms can likely relate. Finally, Sia expresses feelings of uncertainty, fear, and pain. Counselors can employ Adlerian theory in order to help clients fully connect with these feelings, and CBT in order to help clients link their thoughts, feelings and behaviors. Counselors should work to help clients empathize with Sia’s story, and to examine their own thoughts, feelings, and behaviors with compassion.
by N. Stargell
Thursday, September 25, 2014
Maybe (Sick Puppies) 0 W. McKibben Maybe (Sick Puppies) Music Being Reviewed: MaybeReviewer:William McKibben Genre: Popular / Top Hits Suggested Age Range:Everyone Age Range Explained: Suitable for teens and older Subject Headings:College, Depression, Female lifespan development, High school, Male lifespan development, Middle school Review: Released in 2010 as the third single on the album Tri-Polar, "Maybe" is an inspiring alternative rock hit by the rock band Sick Puppies. The song deals directly with the difficulties involved in making life changes. Accordingly, this song would be appropriate for use with clients struggling to make change. The song may be a particularly powerful intervention as it addresses fluctuations among uncertainty, doubt, guilt, and resolve surrounding the change process; the overall essence of the song also validates these fluctuations by implying normalcy of such feelings. The final lines of the song echo its main message: "Nothing stays the same, Maybe it's time to change." "Maybe" is appropriate for teens and adults (though the majority of the album may be best suited for adults or should involve parental discretion). The rock feel to the song may make it effective with middle or high school students and young adults who are unsure about making changes in their lives. The song fits well with clients in the contemplation phase of behavior change, and it may assist clients in exploring hesitancy to change, examining pros and cons of making/not making change, and progressing toward preparation and/or action phases of behavior change. Counselors will likely find that having clients listen to and process this song invites the client into a safe, open discussion about the difficulties, challenges, and rewards of change.
by W. McKibben
Wednesday, September 17, 2014
Family Tree (Matthew West) 0 B. Cullo Family Tree (Matthew West)Music Being Reviewed:Family TreeReviewer:Belinda CulloGenre:OtherSuggested Age Range:EveryoneAge Range Explained:Mostly adults but can also be appropriate for teenagers. Subject Headings:Female lifespan development, Family dynamics, Male lifespan development, Men's issuesReview:"Family Tree" was on Christian artist Matthew West's The Story of Your Life album released in 2010. For anyone who is looking to break a family cycle of dysfunction, this song speaks powerfully about changing your legacy and your destiny, because your yesterdays do not have to define you. It is about breaking the chains that bind, and it is written from the perspective of God speaking to you as his child, although this isn't necessarily obvious. It can work beautifully for all counselors, not just those that take a Christian perspective. The rest of the album is equally moving. Artist Matthew West asked his fans to submit stories from their lives. The result was a collection of songs that cover a diverse range of difficult subject matter.Although the whole album can be useful for counselors to help heal their clients and themselves, this particularly moving song could be used with clients looking to individuate themselves from their family of origin. For anyone with a client who may be struggling with low self-esteem, depression, fear of success, or perhaps relational issues that stem from childhood family dysfunction, this song can be very useful to listen to, perhaps in conjunction with a journaling exercise. It allows a client to feel the pain of their pasts, while also encouraging personal change toward a fruitful new future. This song can help empower clients to break familial cycles, and to become the change they wished to see in their families of origin.Originally posted on 2/11/2013 at
by B. Cullo
Wednesday, September 17, 2014
Popular (Nada Surf and the cast of Wicked) 0 A. Fifield Popular (Nada Surf and the cast of Wicked) Music Being Reviewed:"Popular" by Nada Surf and "Popular" by the cast of WickedReviewer:Andrea FifieldGenre:Popular / Top HitsSuggested Age Range:TeenAge Range Explained:Good for Middle School, Junior High, and High School studentsSubject Headings:Body image, High school, Middle school, Relationships, Social justiceReview:When discussing popularity with junior high and high school students, it's important to remember that there are two sides of the coin: one side is popularity, while the other side is rejection. This point can be illustrated easily by juxtaposing two songs: "Popular" by Nada Surf, and "Popular" from the soundtrack of Wicked. The version from the Wicked soundtrack finds a popular girl singing about all the benefits of popularity, as well as all the requirements for attaining a popular status: how to flirt, how to dress, how to fix your hair, etc. The song further makes the point that with heads of state and great communicators, the most important distinguishing feature of these people is not brains or knowledge, but popularity. The Nada Surf version of the song, on the other hand, finds a boy who has apparently been rejected by a popular girl.  The song paints a bleak and unjust picture, alluding to a position of power, privilege, and belonging among the popular crowd (the quarterback, the cheerleader, the class president, students with money/cars, etc.), and one of rejection and/or insignificance for those who are not popular, rich, or privileged...not an unreasonable analogy for the class structure in our current sociopolitical climate as well. The juxtaposition of these two songs can help students to consider how their actions, and even their membership in a particular social group, can impact others.Originally posted on01/31/2013 at
by A. Fifield
Wednesday, September 17, 2014
Proud (Susan Boyle) 0 H. Dehner Proud (Susan Boyle)Music Being Reviewed:ProudReviewer:Holly DehnerGenre:Popular / Top HitsSuggested Age Range:Teen Age Range Explained:The lyrics address issues most relevant to teens and young adultsSubject Headings:Family dynamics, GLBT issues, RelationshipsReview:This song was originally written by Steve Mac as a message to his father. The vocal performance by Susan Boyle sounds like a love song addressing an inattentive partner. However, carefully analyzing the phrases of the song reveals respect for a mentor, the desire for independent achievement, and the universal need to be accepted for who we are rather than our willingness to conform to others' expectations. The themes of autonomy, respect, independence, and pride are relevant to counselors working with adolescents, survivors of childhood abuse, and members of the LGBTQ community. Specific topics that might be approached when presenting this song to a client are: 1) who have you looked up to as a mentor, 2) what makes you proud of who you are, 3) how do you respond to those who aren't willing to respect you as you are, 4) when do you feel pressured to conform, and 5) what options do you have to retain your own identity?Originally posted on 01/31/2013 at
by H. Dehner
Wednesday, September 17, 2014
She Will Be Loved (Maroon 5) 0 D. Gibson She Will Be Loved (Maroon 5)Music Being Reviewed:She Will be LovedReviewer:Donna Gibson & M. SwartzGenre:Popular / Top HitsSuggested Age Range:Everyone Age Range Explained:Mainly for adults but younger individuals could listenSubject Headings:Anxiety disorders, Depression, Relationships Review:"She Will be Loved" was on Maroon 5’s Songs about Jane album released in 2002. The lyrical content includes a man’s profession of love to a young woman despite she is in another relationship and despite her imperfections. Furthermore, he describes the lengths he will go to in order to show his love for her.This song can be used in a Cognitive Behavioral Technique known as lyrical analysis. The goal of the exercise is to increase a client’s mindfulness of how external stimuli influences thought. This technique is to be used after the concept of positive vs. negative thinking has been introduced to the client. The counselor will print the lyrics out and provide the client two different color highlighters. One color to be used to highlight lyrics the client believes would influence their thoughts positively and one color to be used to highlight lyrics they believe would influence their thoughts negatively. The client would have time to do this while the counselor plays the song in session or may complete it as a homework assignment. The counselor may then engage client in a discussion of which lyrics were associated with positive thoughts, negative thoughts, as well as how media influences thoughts in general. The lyrical content of this song may elicit any number of interpretations from clients. It is important to note that the goal of the exercise is to elevate the client’s mindfulness of thought processes, not that they have a correct interpretation of the song.Originally posted on11/05/2012 at
by D. Gibson
Wednesday, September 17, 2014
Hey Mama (Kanye West) 0 A. Brown Hey Mama (Kanye West)Music Being Reviewed:Hey MamaReviewer:Amanda Brown Genre:Musical Movies/TV Shows:Movie Suggested Age Range:Teen Age Range Explained:Song about childhood memories Subject Headings:Elementary school, Family dynamics, High school, Middle school, Poverty-urban, Relationships Review:Hip-hop artist Kanye West wrote the song "Hey Mama” about his relationship with his mother (West, 2005). The song expressed West’s appreciation for the sacrifices his mother made while raising him. West sang about childhood memories and reflected on his mother’s determination to ensure that he was taken care of amidst conditions of poverty. Additionally, he thanked her for making him her first priority and showing him love. West shared that he never followed the advice that his mother gave him, yet she supported and loved him unconditionally. Finally, West expressed the desire to make his mother proud and take care of her in return. It is clear that West has a great deal of affection and gratitude for his mother and how she raised him. I used "Hey Mama” while I was an art teacher in an urban setting. Interestingly, every eighth grader lived in single mother households. As their final project they listened to "Hey Mama” and drew what they felt. The students created profound and compelling images, such as crying women, rain storms, and angels. As a class we discussed the emotions that surfaced in their artwork. Counselors can use hip-hop to begin dialogue about a particular issue, in this case, family relations. Adolescents may have a strong connection to hip-hop culture, making it a unique tool to help them better access their emotions. The therapeutic nature of music allows adolescents to have an expressive outlet, enabling them to begin the process of exploring their feelings. Originally posted on 12/04/2011 at
by A. Brown
Wednesday, September 17, 2014