John Lennon's Song Imagine

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In chapter 10 of Music, Performance, Meaning: Selected Essays, Cook (2007) aims to “spell out a way of understanding ‘at least some of the meaning ascribed to music as at the same time irreducibly cultural and intimately related to its structural properties’”. In this essay I will attempt to outline in detail, John Lennon’s song ‘Imagine’ and how cultural and structural properties of the track contribute to the ideology of world peace and harmony as well as a hint of anti-religion.

The essay will describe the background of John Lennon and the release of the song ‘Imagine’, as well as the reception of the song both before and after the Lennon assassination and also how varying elements of the song allude to the meanings discussed in the introduction.
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The Vietnam War is still ongoing, as well as the Cold War between the United States and the USSR. In South Asia, a war raged which ended with the creation of the sovereign nation of Bangladesh. Various racial issues in the United States were present. Hot pants and bell-bottomed trousers were the latest fashion trend. Among all of the conflicts and violence (and hideous clothing), one man emerges. John Lennon, former guitarist for the legendary music group, The Beatles, comes out with a song. His song “Imagine” becomes one of the most famous tunes in all of history, both past and present. “Imagine” is the spark that starts a revolution among anti-war movements. Lennon presents a world, free from violence, pain and hatred. While John Lennon’s song “Imagine” has influenced the entire world through its artistry and ethics, it fails to deliver on securing its goals of universal freedom from various aspects of humankind.
One characteristic of Lennon’s song that must be analyzed is the characters. Because it is in the form of a song, the speaker is John Lennon. He speaks his goals of world peace and freedom through his music. The audience, therefore, would be the listener. The more direct audience that Lennon is speaking to is the people who want world peace and can imagine a world free from
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Some may say that his style for the song is a little bit naive and revolves around a lot of positive thinking. Actually, Lennon’s song can be viewed as dreamlike because it is literally imagining the world at peace, free from strife. One major part of “Imagine” is the tone of the song. Lennon utilizes soft and gentle chords and notes, adding to the peaceful perspective of the tune. Also, using primarily piano and a soft drum beat, the melody of the song is brought out. John Lennon also uses a similar gentle tone in his voice. While singing, he says everything peacefully and without force. If he used force, it would have not been very convincing as an anti-war or anti-violence anthem. There is also a certain style that reflects the meaning within the video that accompanies the song. The video starts off with John Lennon walking with his wife Yoko Ono. They are walking outside in a dark, almost gloomy environment. As the video keeps playing, the viewer sees Lennon sitting and playing the piano in a dark room as he sings his melody. Ono opens the windows in the room, letting the light come in through the windows and making the room a lot brighter. During the chorus, where Lennon sings “You may say I’m a dreamer…”, the camera is focused on Lennon’s face. It seems to emphasize his point, and it gives the perspective that his words are more powerful and more

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