Backmasking Bieber, Black Keys, Kanye, Etc.: What Do You Hear?
"It's my sweet Satan ... Oh I will sing because I live with Satan."
"Turn me on, dead man."
"Turned out nice again."
"Eat donkey crap."
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Every since the beginning of rock and roll, listeners and disgruntled parents alike have been searching for hidden meanings in music. Was Paul dead, was Ozzy trying to tell us to kill ourselves, did Freddie Mercury want us to get high? Spinning our favorite records backwards opened up our imaginations to any and all possibilities.
Most times it was Christian folk looking for new ways to demonize youth culture and scare parents into burning and destroying the albums their kids snuck into the house. Trinity Broadcasting Network's Paul Crouch was a big opponent of rock and roll, having "experts" come on his show to delve into Led Zeppelin and AC/DC.
Somehow all that paranoia died away from rock and roll a few years back. It seems now, like Jane's Addiction said, nothing's shocking. Music has become so compartmentalized and populist that people like Lady Gaga are the norm, when only a decade ago she would have been banned like Marilyn Manson. Hip-hop can't even raise anyone's ire now. Jay-Z might as well be Bruce Springsteen.
The most shocking lyric of 2010 wasn't from a rapper or a shock-rocker, it was Meat Loaf telling us he can barely "fit his dick in his pants."
Backmasking was done by artists to add an extra gleam of weirdness to their album. The messages done on purpose poked fun at the people searching for hidden lyrics, or they were nonsensical inside jokes amongst the band members.
Does backmasking exist in pop music today?
We picked five of the biggest current singles to reverse and listen to, in search of hidden missives from today's most popular artists and bands. You just know that Willow Smith was told to load some pro-Scientology messages into her new song "Whip My Hair" by her parents Will and Jada, and that Kanye West is tricking us subliminally to send him silk robes.
Justin Bieber, "Baby"
Sounds Like: Sigur Ros or a really experimental Animal Collective track.
What We Heard: "I want warm egg nog," "Tres bien," "I need warm agua",and "Christina Ricci signed a waiver in Huggies."
Conclusion: Tropical wedding bells for Beebs and Ricci? Meow!
Kanye West, "Runaway"
Sounds Like: Kanye West
What We Heard: "I always feel Japanese when I am falling," "Who wants marginal sauces," "Ziggy was the worst," "Must not feel Walken."
Conclusion: West was opening up a Japanese fusion place with David Bowie, but Bowie backed out because the menu wasn't right. Also, don't hug Christopher Walken.
The Black Keys, "Tighten Up"
Sounds Like: Daft Punk from Akron.
What We Heard: "I'm reading between the reefer lines," "Secret Penis," "I remote freeze," "Ask me who I lick," "All bosoms."
Willow Smith, "Whip My Hair"
Sounds Like: Obscure shit we would see at SXSW next to the train tracks.
What We Heard: "Off with that Mohammed," "Hey ho hooray," "Pray for me," "Those shorts," "Big ribbit."
Conclusion:Totally Scientology propaganda.
Eminem, "Not Afraid"
Sounds Like: Remember that scene from Twin Peaks with the dwarf in the red suit?
What We Heard: "Even your husband can evolve," "I'm in the middle of the officer," "Remember The Commish?", "I'm aching for Air Force Fiesta," "Hair mop is all of us," "Hire the Kenoshan salesman," "You are flan."
Conclusion: Sounds like Marshall is working on a pilot with Michael Chiklis about former Air Force buddies opening a barbershop and bakery.
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