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Analysis of Beyonce' Song 'Pretty Hurts'

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Words: 800 |

Pages: 2|

4 min read

Published: Dec 16, 2021

Words: 800|Pages: 2|4 min read

Published: Dec 16, 2021

Imagine for a minute. The sheer torment of withering slowly away, fear of food consuming you, you starve yourself, slipping slowly into insanity. You are only shrill skin and bone, the remanets of the past fulfilling life. This is the unfortunate reality of up to 16% of the Australian population suffering from eating disorders. This is the topic of the song ‘Pretty Hurts’ written in collaboration by Beyonce in 2013 which gives insight into the issues of modern social/cultural norms and mental illness.

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Through the use of a whole host of language features, immaculate vocabulary in conjunction with song structure and audio elements, Beyonce was able to enlighten her listeners and the world about the deplorable effects of high social and cultural norms and their tolls on peoples’ lives.

A range of language devices are used throughout ‘Pretty Hurts’ to evoke emotion and engage the audience to enlighten the masses about the song’s message. Strong evocative language such as “It’s the soul that needs surgery” and “Ain’t got no doctor or pill that can take the pain away”. This influences the audience by evoking emotion and detailing the suffering caused by mental illness. Compelling vocabulary such as “Masquerade” and “Pageant” engages and gives a deeper message thus, making it more emotionally influential to the audience.

As the audiences are influenced by the verse and hooks of the song, The Bridge and outro reinforces these ideas by using repetition, where “Pretty hurts” and the repeated rhetorical question “Are you happy with yourself?” The bridge also uses rhyme as seen in “perfection is the disease of a nation” with the notable 2x2 rhyme scheme being used to fully reinforce and convey the ideas and emotions within the song. These language devices, used in conjunction with the song structure, effectively conveyed the ideas and emotion.

The song is vocal in nature with sparse hip-hop instrumentals to enhance its message. The song is mainly comprised of chorus explaining implicitly on the standards of beauty and the dissatisfaction of the singer’s body. The chorus also confronts us explain how society’s obsession with beauty in the phrase “perfection is the disease of a nation” and with the pre chorus repeating “Without falling down” implicitly stating that this is at the expense of mental health.

Beyonce confronts us about the modern female stereotype in media by giving examples like “flat chest […] TV says bigger is better” and “Thinner is better”. By exposing these stereotypes in such a manner emphasises the ideas that lead to body image issues. This is all reviled at the bridge where [the singer] explains she is in pain that won’t go away indicative of depression associated with eating disorders. The last line wraps up the bridge by saying [you] “left with the mirrors and shards of a beautiful girl” which implies that she is no longer happy with her body with shattered mirrors representing her low self-esteem associated with body image..

‘Pretty Hurts’ uses a range of auditory elements throughout the song to put emphasis and evoke emotion. The lyrics are sung passionately with prominence being placed on the chorus to highlight the song’s message of mental health. The song starts off with a sombre piano ostinato than quickly develops with the addition of more electronic instruments that is used throughout the song. The musical background is sparse, but has been used enough to create an energetic feel to the song which has a psychological effect to encourage people to take action in an otherwise objectionable, rather taboo issue.

In my opinion, I believe the aesthetic value of the song is very effective to encouraging people to take action against the issues of mental illness, eating disorders and make people aware of the unrealistic beauty standards of today’s society and also provoke change in the entertainment and beauty industry where rates of eating disorders are significantly higher than the normal population.

The social values of the song are still very relevant as the issue of eating disorders grow year by year. Not to mention Anorexia Nervosa, common amongst young women and those working in athletic, entertainment and beauty professions is considered the most deadly mental illness killing up to 20% of its victims. Worst of all, sufferers show no signs of trouble to the untrained eye, but when it’s noticed, it’s usually too late.

As we ever progress into a more digital, socially conscious society founded more on looks and wealth and ever less knowledge, we should take a stance that we were born in this body and we should embrace it.

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I believe I look fair enough, not like the handsome designer body hanky punky that has embedded it’s self into modern society. Remember the old saying: “Don’t mistake my weakness for intelligence”? Well, for anyone who says I’m fat with a huge nose – Don’t mistake my ugliness for knowledge.

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This essay was reviewed by
Dr. Charlotte Jacobson

Cite this Essay

Analysis Of Beyonce’ Song ‘Pretty Hurts’. (2021, December 16). GradesFixer. Retrieved June 21, 2024, from https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/analysis-of-beyonce-song-pretty-hurts/
“Analysis Of Beyonce’ Song ‘Pretty Hurts’.” GradesFixer, 16 Dec. 2021, gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/analysis-of-beyonce-song-pretty-hurts/
Analysis Of Beyonce’ Song ‘Pretty Hurts’. [online]. Available at: <https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/analysis-of-beyonce-song-pretty-hurts/> [Accessed 21 Jun. 2024].
Analysis Of Beyonce’ Song ‘Pretty Hurts’ [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2021 Dec 16 [cited 2024 Jun 21]. Available from: https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/analysis-of-beyonce-song-pretty-hurts/
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