Sunday, December 7, 2008

Annalee Biemiller

When I hear music played backwards, it wakes up a nameless, primal, and overwhelming fear. It doesn't really have a cause. It doesn't stir up any mental images. There is no convoluted stream of events I associate with it. It's just there. I can't listen to Revolution 9 by the Beatles without crying. Or the Fairly Oddparents theme backwards, for that matter.


elizabeth said...

I completely know what you mean. The other day, I decided to listen to some of the Beatles songs backwards because of the "hidden messages" and it creeped me out so much! Just thinking of the sounds makes me cringe, I think I've had auditory nightmares of them

Anonymous said...

What about those songs that are sound phonetically backwards and then played backwards to sound like they're being sung normally?

Jenifer said...

I've never listened to backwards music simply because I do fear waking up this 'primal terror'. I remember reading something that might partially explain it, but unfortunately I can't remember specifically where I read it or what the terminology was. It basically had to do with our brains being hardwired to go into fight-or-flight upon hearing 'discordant sounds' such as those made by a wounded creature.

My guess is that since our brains are pretty used to the way music is generally played, hearing chords and such backwards is a form of discordant sound powerful enough to wake up that primal fear.