Welcome to Darkside Daily

When I'm not writing about my experiences in this journey called 'life', I'm singing and uploading my own interpretations of modern music. Click on "Cover Songs" to hear them, or on the YouTube logo on the right to see my YouTube channel.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

How Pop Music Is Infiltrating Your Brain And Turning It Into Mush

A couple days ago while browsing some music on Youtube with my brother, we stumbled across some songs which had been reversed for 'fun'. When he asked why anyone would do that, I explained the concept of back-masking to him. I was rather hazy on the details myself, so we went through this Wikipedia page. For those who want the summarized version - back-masking is a technique used in music where certain parts of a recording are recorded in reverse and then played forward. These recordings sound completely unintelligible and unique played forward, and only become coherent when they are played backwards. Back in the eighties and nineties, everyone got very worked up because some artists were using this technique to include some rather disturbing messages about Satan and drugs in their songs. My brother was especially shocked to hear that Led Zeppelin's "Stairway to Heaven" has been alleged to contain a pretty strange satanic message in it as well.

Now while a lot of this can be disputed, it's still a bit unsettling. I'm not entirely sure how much of it is authentic, but the thought that there were people out there trying to send secret messages into your brain was so enticing that the hype carried the story for over a decade. Fast forward to the 21st Century and we don't talk about 'subliminal messages' anymore unless the person doing it is bald and in a wheelchair.

"Your iPhone is not tracking you. I repeat, your iPhone is NOT.."
But then, the music we listen to these days is far more damaging and deceitful than some random backwards balderdash about worshipping Satan. No, those Satanists from back in the day have all retired, knowing full well that when it comes to subliminal messages and deceiving listeners, modern day pop music is in a class of its own.

Given below are three of the most ridiculous songs that we didn't know were ridiculous till we actually listened to the song.


No.3 : Kelly Rowland - Motivation

When I first heard this tune it was already no.1 on the Billboard R&B charts. On the surface the track seems like a very sexy, smooth R&B song by the very talented (and often under-rated) Kelly Rowland, and that was that. Then there's the very distracting video, reminding us that Beyonce wasn't the only member of Destiny's Child that had that 'oomph' factor.

But have you really listened to the song? The sexual connotations are blatantly obvious, unlike other raunchy tracks where the double meanings are all somewhat implied rather than really laid out in front of you. But in 'Motivation', Kelly isn't really giving us any where else to look is she? She's as subtle as a peaceful protest involving arson, vandalism and looting (too soon?).



Oh lover, don’t you dare slow down
Go longer, you can last more rounds
Push harder, you're almost there now
So go lover, make mama proud


Yeah. So she's just being very encouraging, and supportive, because obviously her man is some form of long distance track and field athlete, desperately 'pushing harder' and 'going longer' so he can 'last more rounds'. Or not.

Look I get that most hip hop and R&B songs are about sex, but at least they are done somewhat tastefully, or at least attempt to use some tongue-in-cheek in their lyrics. But even Li'l Wayne can't save this song:

Uh, girl I turn that thing into a rainforest
Rain on my head, call that brainstorming

Yeah, you tell her Wayne. Just hope you don't fall in love with an orangutan in there.

(If you got that reference without clicking the link, you win a 1000 internets.)


No. 2 : Nicole Scherzingerburger - Right There

Nicole Scherzinger isn't your average pop diva, though I'm not entirely sure why. Perhaps being part of the Pussycat Dolls who so blatantly flaunted their sex appeal to compensate for a marked lack of talent helped, or perhaps being surrounded by such mediocre group members made her look decidedly above average in comparison. 

Still, the girl has a voice. She seems intelligent (she's dating Lewis Hamilton, someone who, you would think, wouldn't date an air-head). You would assume this would be an advantage, but no; in the music industry, you have to be a attractive and appear stupid. So it stands to reason her big hit is a song in which she sounds like a bit of an idiot. 

I have no idea what 'accent' (if you call it that) she's adopted for this song, nor do I know why she's aspiring to sound like Rihanna, a native of Barbados and the owner of the most successful nasal voice in the industry. But no, despite the catchy beats and tune, Nicole somehow manages to sound utterly ridiculous.

Exhibit A:

Come here baby and be my baby
And be my baby oh oh oh
Come here baby put your hands on my body
Hands on my body oh oh oh
Right there keep it right there
I love when you put it right there oh oh oh
Yeah yeah oh oh oh
Yeah

Yeah. Oh oh. Oh. Oh oh yeah. Oh. Yeah. Probably some satanic message encrypted in that.

But it gets better.

Exhibit B:

No you never gonna let no girl take him from me
Never gonna let no girl steal him from me
Never gonna let a girl get that close now
I tell 'em eh eh you're too close now


Sounds rather un-ladylike, don't you think? "Eh! Eh!! EH!! You're too close now okay?? Back off!! He miiiine...!"

And then the pièce de résistance:

I like the way that you talk dirty
Don't wash your mouth out I like it dirty


I can't, I just - I can't take it. I give up. No wonder Nicole shakes her booty every 20 seconds in her video, it's to distract from the lyrics her song.


No.1 : Katy Perry - E.T.


There are some songs that are so memorable, you can relate the very first time you heard it play. I first heard Incubus' "Drive" in 2001 January on local radio. I loved it, I couldn't wait to hear it again. I first heard Santana's "Smooth" on the World Chart Show while in my bedroom. I couldn't believe that guy was from Matchbox Twenty, and I couldn't believe my dad knew who Santana was. I first heard Katy Perry's "E.T." while driving to Colombo. I almost drove my car into the back of a truck while staring at my radio in disbelief.

The fact that this song climbed all the way to no.1 on the Billboard charts (and stayed there for 5 weeks) has almost shattered my faith in the charts completely. The only plausible explanation for why Katy Perry would write about her alien fetish is if in fact she didn't write it. Perhaps it was a joke song that her comic hubby Russell Brand wrote for some stand-up gig he was doing, only the wifey found it in his drawers and decided that it was perfect to showcase her 'range' and 'musical variety'.


Here's a sample:

They say, be afraid
You're not like the others
Futuristic lover
Different DNA
They don't understand you



According to the interwebs, the song is supposedly about 'falling in love with a foreigner'. No doubt, if all Americans feel this way about foreigners and treat them accordingly, this would explain why half the world is (or was) trying to nuke them.

Bring on the chorus!

Kiss me, kiss me
Infect me with your love and
Fill me with your poison

Take me, take me
Wanna be a victim
Ready for abduction

Boy, you're an alien
Your touch so foreign
It's supernatural
Extraterrestrial



Who wouldn't want to sing along to that?

Oh there's more:


I wanna walk on your wave length
And be there when you vibrate
For you I'll risk it all
All



You hear that? "All". Just to be there when you 'vibrate'. Because her man is a cell phone.

But my favourite part has to be this:

You're so supersonic
Wanna feel your powers
Stun me with your lasers


STUN ME WITH YOUR LASERS?! I guess in Katy Perry's candy-land world, the act of making love involves her shooting whipped cream out of her boobs till he 'laser-stuns' her into exploding fireworks.

Step 1: Initiate contact

"Beep-boop-beep-boop-beeeeeep!"

Mission complete. Return to star base.

Any other songs that I may have missed? Feel free to add them in the comments below!

14 comments:

Angel said...

This is why i never listen to the lyrics... absolute brain freeze!

PP said...

the katy perry firework song.

Do you ever feel like a plastic bag Drifting through the wind, wanting to start again?

i heard this on the road and googled it the first chance i got just to make sure i heard it right.

yuck.

Dili said...

I'll swear on anything you want, I promise I haven't heard a single one of those 3 songs O_O I got floored when I read this. It must be cos I haven't listened to radio in a couple of years but I had no idea these were out there. *shudder*

Don't people WRITE anymore? The original songs on Glee that were meant as a joke are better than this O_o

Gehan said...

angel - but that's the thing isn't it? nowadays no one listens to lyrics, and so these so-called 'artists' get to conver their grocery list into a song and we gobble it up and help them make millions!

PP - yeah, that's basically the exact same reaction everyone i know has had to that song. but of course, when she's bursting into flame from her chest in the video, what can u expect from the song?

Dili - it's a jungle out there..

shagDAintern said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
shagDAintern said...

Someone's gotta defend the current state of pop, it might as well be me. So is it just the 2000's that disturb you or perhaps the 60's when the Beatles were talking about Lucy and her Diamonds

The band that revolutionized rock is also, quite noticeably an exceptional pop band considering they had lyrics like 'I wanna hold your hand". So how exactly did the world go from "I wanna hold your hand" to "I like it when you go down, down, down down"? Well, society itself has become loose. Women, like myself are "sluts". We are okay with talking about our likes and wants, whether it's in a song or in real life. Goodness forbid that right! Btw, before we had sex driven mermaids like Kelly, Nicole and Rihanna we had Prince with lyrics like: "I'll give up all my lovers if you can make me shout, oh baby I'm warning you one of us is gonna end up on our knees".

But Prince is still a man right..lets get back to the women with dirty lyrics...

Oh and madonna and her

"If I take you from behind
Push myself into your mind
When you least expect it
Will you try and reject it
If I'm in charge and I treat you like a child
Will you let yourself go wild
Let my mouth go where it wants to?"

And if you really want to entertain yourself with how dirty females can get listen to Lil Kim's 'How many licks". She's just singing about a tootsie roll lollie pop.

Anywho, if you want the more meaningful stuff then I suggest you get over the "hip pop" and move on to the real hip hop and R&B. The Common's, Nas, Talib Kweli, Erykah Badu's, Tupac's, Mary J Blige's, Lupe Fiasco's of the world are waiting..

Or is talking about love, politics and a hard knock life out of the question too.

Like I said, in this "loose" world, it's time you "loosen up".

Willing suspension of disbelief. Pop music doesn't have to be life changing, but somehow you're still talking about it. Mission accomplished?

T said...

don't you love it when someone completely misses the spirit of the post? lol

Gehan said...

shagDAintern - Goodness, thank you for your very long comment! However, it looks like you've completely missed the point of the post.

I'm not even sure what you're trying to defend so vociferously; starting from pop music to women being 'slutty'. This post wasn't directed at pop music, nor was it directed at women; it just so happens that the top 3 most annoying songs to me at the moment happen to be by women.

If I were writing a post on the most explicit songs of the last 3 decades, I'm sure I would have welcomed your suggestions, but like i've said already, that wasn't what this post was about. As for 'real hip hop and R&B', thanks - Kweli, Common, Nas, MJB and Lupe are already 'waiting' for me on my ipod.

"Or is talking about love, politics and a hard knock life out of the question too."

Um. No? I'm confused; are u under the impression that i'm asking artists not to sing about sex? Goodness forbid that!

Indeed, we do live in a 'loose' world; a world where quality is out-trumped by sex appeal. It is also a world where people mistake talking, writing and singing about sex in graphic detail for some sort of show of rebellion, revolution or empowerment, when all it does is actually cheapen both themselves and the act. This applies to both Li'l Kim and Prince, btw, before you accuse me of being sexist again.

All i'm saying is: Nicole, Kelly and Katy are actually very talented artists, yet going by the contents of these 3 songs, it doesn't look like they are using that talent. I'm not expecting them to write songs that will change my world and bring me to tears; but is it too much to ask if I want some music that has some semblance of thought to it? I'd take sexual innuendo any day over a song about being probed by lasers.

R said...

G, I officially love you.
You have morals, a voice and a brain.

Especially the latter is missing in my case. Can't even keep up to date with the (only) blog that I want to follow. :-(

R said...

Proud to announce that I have now mastered the art of maintaining a feed reader on my desktop. I should be able to read posts when they are written, and not half an eternity later. :-)

Gehan said...

R: welcome to web 2.0! lol..

۞ -- MìsChìef -- ۞ said...

LOL why imply that writing about sex doesn't require thought? After all, not many people can express, let alone know what they want!

Gehan said...

Mischief - not at all, writing about sex is not something I think is easy, especially if it's done well, which is not the case in these examples. I assume that being an artist, whatever the medium, requires that person to be able to express themselves at least to some degree. If they can't, then they shouldn't be artists, plain and simple.

۞ -- MìsChìef -- ۞ said...

you seem to know what exactly it means to express oneself "well". I mean LOL they're using lots of onomatopoeia for one!

Just messing with you :)

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