Prompted by a shared distaste for current popular music, a group of students is using a class project to start a “Lyric Revolution.”

Music, Theatre & Dance sophomore Hannah Baiardi, a co-founder of “Lyric Revolution”, said she often finds the majority of popular music today is both “derogatory” and “offensive.”

“I find it, personally, really discouraging,” Baiardi said. “A lot of times it’s not sophisticated. It can tend to be shallow, repetitive and not really very deep. As a musician, I find that really irksome.”

To combat that problem, Baiardi and a group of classmates from the class, “Entrepreneurial Creativity”, have built and launched a website titled “Lyric Revolution.” The site features local artists and forums for viewers to engage with other musicians and music lovers.

The website was first conceived in the class, which is taught by Education Lecturer Eric Fretz and is one of the core classes for the University‘s entrepreneurship minor. At the beginning of the class, Fretz has his students create a PowerPoint slide about themselves, their passions and projects they are interested in. It was that process that brought the group together and allowed them to realize their common passions.

“We all kind of came together on this idea that meaningful lyrics and positive changes through music can be really powerful,” said LSA sophomore Jacqueline Shandler, a co-founder of Lyric Revolution. “I can see it going well beyond this class because we’re all passionate about it. We’re all driven. We want to see it go somewhere.”

Currently in its second week, the website is built around a “featured artists” page, which spotlights local artists and their original compositions posted on SoundCloud.

The founders said the featured artists are meant to represent a clear distinction from the sounds of today’s Top 40 hits.

“People can’t really control which music, what they’re going to hear,” Shandler said. “You could be going anywhere and hear music that isn’t appropriate.”

It’s that lack of control that drives the group toward attempting a “revolution,” a transformation in the way today’s music is written.

Another part of the initiative is found in the “our parodies” tab on the website. Currently, a parody of Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” is displayed. In place of the opening line of Thicke’s chorus, “And that’s why I’m gon’ take a good girl. I know you want it,” are the following lines: “And that’s why I stand for justice. You know I’ve earned it.”

A third tab on the website asks users to “join the conversation,” and provides space for users to post comments.

One post made by the founders is titled “Be the Change.” It poses two scenarios; the first one describes a situation in which Pitbull’s “Time of Our Lives” comes on the radio while a babysitter is driving a child to an activity. The second scenario is the same, but in place of Pitbull, the radio plays a song that’s both catchy and helps raise awareness about social issues.

“It’s simply a platform for conversation, to kind of pick people’s brains about, you know, how do you feel about lyrics? What can we do to change that? Can we really influence the music industry five years from now, 10 years from now?” Baiardi said.

In addition to being one of the founders, Baiardi is also featured on the page as an artist. The first song listed on the page is hers.

One song, titled “We! are Students for Clean Energy Rap,” mixes beats and Spanish and English lyrics. The song distills the mission of Students for Clean Energy, a campus group that promotes the University’s use of clean energy.

“Hey listen up ya’ll Wolverines,” the lyrics read. “The sun goes down, the sun goes up, time to pass that heat around.”

Baiardi said the team hopes the project will eventually become integrated into student organizations on campus. They hope to have a cappella groups sing their parodies or to work with MUSIC Matters, for example. They would also like to see other University classes engage with the project in some form.

While the website’s intended audience is students on college campuses, Baiardi emphasized that anyone can be involved.

“Maybe somebody doesn’t have the capacity to write lyrics, but they can write a song or they can post a song here and then someone else on the other end can write lyrics for that piece and then upload it and here you have this thing that’s produced,” she said.

In this way, Fretz said, “Lyric Revolution” embodies the idea of creativity that lies at the core of the class.

“It’s a relatively new course, but I would say that this is the most fun that I have had teaching in my entire life, because you just sort of turn Michigan students loose and when you refuse to give them a specific guideline and they have to come up with stuff, the things they come with are really amazing,” he said.

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