Backmasking: Rock Music and Messages

Topics: Rock music, Backmasking, Satanism Pages: 7 (2638 words) Published: February 27, 2012
Backmasking: Between the devil and the media

Are you aware of the music nowadays? How does the band affect the lives of young people today? Well, different bands and songs had already flourished in the world. They had grown into new ideas and captured the hearts of the people, especially the teenagers. They sometimes play songs for dancing, singing, recreation or listening. People use them to express feelings and ideas and also a way for them to relax. It is an unavoidable element in everyone’s life. It has always been a part of every culture, big or small. Music is often a major part of a teenager's separate world. Most of the young people enjoy listening songs without even recognizing its lyrics as long as they were pleased with its catchy tunes. Music is not usually a danger for teenagers, unless they are not preoccupied with music that has seriously destructive themes like taking alcohol, presenting suicide or getting abused with drugs. It is easy for us to check on songs that contain good and clean messages by just analyzing its lyrics. However, for many years, there have been rumors that certain songs, speeches, and ads contain hidden messages that can only be heard when played backwards. Some people believed that most of the bands corrupt young people by burying subliminal messages in music. This process is known as backmasking and there is much debate about its existence. Backmasking is a way of reversing an audio that is meant to be played forwards. When the music is played normally, one hears a passage that sounds like gibberish, unclearly word-like, as if it is in another language. However, when it is played backwards, sometimes clear understandable phrase or sentence is heard wherein the original message was revealed. They ran reel-to-reel tape recorders backwards, but then, digital audio recording has greatly simplified the process. It had first appeared in the late 1960s as a result of an accidental tape mixing error by John Lennon in the Beatles' song “Rain.” He realized his mistake, but he continued doing it in. A verbal message is recorded, reversed in direction, and placed on a recorded track. The Beatles used tapes played backward for musical effects in some of their recordings. One thing is when they theoretically put in backward or subliminal messages announcing Paul McCartney's death when he was much alive and was clearly intentional. Another thing is when Jimmy Page, the guitarist, is said to have inserted the backward message "here's to my sweet Satan" into his "Stairway to Heaven" song that seemed to be unintentional for many people. Since then, backmasking has been used all throughout the past four or five decades. It has been used to display the thoughts of the artists for comedy, censorship, and sometimes just by accident. Today, reversing audio is a popular way to censor explicit words on radios. This technique is often used for aesthetics in order to develop or enhance the message of a song. Stanley Kubrick said that “When you're composing songs, you're always looking for new ideas, new sounds.” One example of this was when the band of Stone Roses had used this technique on their songs, including “Don't Stop," "Guernica," and "Simone," which in reverse added new vocals. Through this process, sounds or instrumental audio produce interesting and attractive sound effects. Sometimes, it results to a reverse echo that artists found appealing. This also plays an important role on concerts wherein guitar parts were played live on stage using a backward emulator. Another use of back-masking is for humorous messages. They used this technique to entertain the listeners by hiding its comedic messages through back-masking. One example of this was when Pink Floyd made a back-masked message in his song “Empty Spaces” that resulted to a message “Congratulations. You have just discovered the secret message. Please send your answer to Old Pink, care of the Funny Farm, Chalfont…” The message turned out...
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