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Future of Music: Mary J. Blige

November 15, 2007 8:31 PM ET

Technology has changed a lot in the way people can get music now. Do you think that changes the way people experience music?
It changes the organic-ness of how we experienced and how we got introduced to music. You don't have a personal moment to listen to the music and look at the album cover and really sit through it. Everything moves so fast now, people don't have time. With all the iPods and the computers, everything is so fast, so you don't have a moment to just really suck it in for what it's really, really worth — you're just on to the next one. "Okay, let's download this song, let's get this song." We used to listen to whole albums, and that's no more.

Do you feel like music has a social responsibility?
I think it's a responsibility to those who want it. You can't just say to a person, automatically, once children see you on television and they start singing your songs, you do have a responsibility. I know I have a responsibility.From day one, I've been singing songs about women. It's my responsibility to walk what I'm talking about and say, "Okay, if I'm screaming about confidence, then I've got to be confident," because it's a different job for me, it's a different thing. People come up to me and they say, "Mary, you're helping me." Now, I've got a responsibility to not hurt them.

Are you generally optimistic or pessimistic about the future?
I'm optimistic. I have to think optimistic, because I believe what we think becomes a living thing. If we think pessimistic, then imagine the whole world thinking pessimistic about the future — because then that's what we're gonna have. We've got that much power. I have to think optimistic to put that in the universe so things will change. I can change things with just that thought.

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Song Stories

“Road to Nowhere”

Talking Heads | 1985

A cappella harmonies give way to an a fuller arrangement blending pop and electro-disco on "Road to Nowhere," but the theme remains constant: We're on an eternal journey to an undefined destination. The song vaulted back into the news a quarter century after it was a hit when Gov. Charlie Crist used it in his unsuccessful 2010 campaign for the U.S. Senate in Florida. "It's this little ditty about how there's no order and no plan and no scheme to life and death and it doesn't mean anything, but it's all right," Byrne said with a chuckle.

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