Love in Pop Music

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Pop music is inescapable. We hear it in movies, in commercials, when shopping in stores, when we turn it on ourselves to enjoy it. And amidst the catchy melodies and insistent beats, quite often the lyrics sing about love. New love. Tragic love. Deep love. Unrequited love. Love that is so, so incredibly over. Frequently we are so lost in the music that we don’t even pay attention to these lyrics… but what if we did? What is their conception of love, and what do we think about it? Is love a feeling? What is it that we love—the way someone looks, what it feels like to be with them, the whole person? In this session, we will examine a selection of popular songs from recent years (with a few classics thrown in) in order to think about what love is, what our culture says about love, and what to do with the fact that when we are listening to music we are simultaneously taking in ideas.

Young Philosophers is an online discussion for high-school-aged students. Join us for “Love in Pop Music” on Thursday, May 11, from 4-6 p.m. Pacific time. The discussion will be led by Gutenberg tutor Brian Julian. Participants will receive a Spotify playlist with the songs we will cover, along with the lyrics, and everyone should listen to the songs carefully at least once prior to the discussion. In addition, participants should be mature enough to listen to and discuss the material: part of the goal is to think about what the culture is saying in some of its most prominent songs, and while we will avoid songs that are grossly obscene, a couple of the selections may have occasional expletives or PG-13 content.

Attendee Requirements: High-school age
Maximum Attendees: 12

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Brian Julian

Brian Julian joined the Gutenberg College faculty in 2021 after having taught philosophy and writing for several years at colleges in the Boston area. He holds a B.A. in liberal arts from Gutenberg College and a Ph.D. in philosophy from Boston University. He specializes in the history of philosophy and has published research on Aristotle. He writes (and cartoons) for Thinking in the Light, a website where he aims to make philosophical ideas accessible to a general audience.