Listen To The Music This Is How We Do It Music and Suggestibility

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Music and Suggestibility

Well: for the sake of argument, let’s say that the music people listen to and enjoy can put them into hypnosis. What are the consequences?

Of course, I need to meet the above requirements immediately. When I use the word “hypnosis” in this sense, I do not mean the passive, relaxed state that occurs under the guidance of a hypnotherapist. What I’m talking about is the qualitative shift in consciousness that occurs when you’re gyrating on a dance floor, surrounded by flashing lights and ear-splitting noises, or sitting absorbed in your favorite music. Quietly hypnotized by Chopin’s Night. I believe that this shift in consciousness gives us more to offer.

I also need to clarify something. We are not puppets or computers. No matter what state of consciousness we are in, we do not respond immediately, completely, and positively to every suggestion we encounter. However, in the hypnotic state of consciousness we offer more than the “normal” waking state. To repeat the opening question, if music can hypnotize us, what are the consequences?

Again, it depends on what kind of music you listen to and why. What kind of music do people listen to today? All types. There are audiences for jazz, folk, classical, etc. But I know that’s a great generalization – most people, especially young people, listen to what’s selling and what’s trendy.

Anyone who lived in Britain in the 60s, 70s and 80s will surely remember Top Pop on TV and Alan Freeman’s Chart Countdown Show on the radio. Back then, almost everyone knew, or at least had a rough idea of, what song was at Number One.

Do you know what song is number one right now? I’m not either. But I thought I’d take a quick look at the Top 3 to give you an indication of what a majority, if not the majority, of the population is listening to right now. This will give me a clear idea of ​​what suggestions are being conveyed through the music.

Well – I was scrolling online and at the time of writing this – April 30th, 2012 – the Number One song was: “Call Me May” by Carly Rae Jepsen. Neither the song nor the singer is known to me. The accompanying video for the song was easy to find online.

The singer is a thin but pretty young girl who seems to be around 16 or 17 years old. This song tells a very simple story. Our heroine threw her desire into a well, and then most likely lusted after someone in ripped jeans. The accompanying video clearly shows that this person is a young man. The lyrics say nothing about him. He gave her his phone number and asked her to call him. Original, right? The singer’s voice is as lean and immature as her appearance, with a pale, adenoid quality that is fashionable these days. A melodic line is as simple as a nursery rhyme. The accompaniment consists primarily of synth strings and percussion. There’s nothing here that you haven’t heard a thousand times before.

Calvin Harris’ “Let’s Go” was number two on the charts. The “lyrics” of this song, if you can call them lyrics, are nothing but the most polite clichés. Let’s go. I’m talking. It’s what you do that matters. Let’s build it. And about that. The singer is male. The voice has the understated crooning quality of the No. 1 singer, but without the girlish charm. If a melodic line deserves such a title, it couldn’t be more simplistic and shallow. The background music consists of the simplest rhythms and synth chords. Again, there is nothing special or unique about it.

The third is a song called “We Are Young” by “Fun”. The title of the song and the name of the band should tell you everything you need to know about this masterpiece. The song is about a small incident at a bar. The protagonist (male) is trying to apologize to his beloved for something – the nature of his wrongdoing is not clear. Apologies don’t seem to be going well. Meanwhile, our hero’s friends end up in the toilet or something. Among these crude and trivial details is the recurring refrain that “we” can shine brighter than the sun. But musically, it seems to be the strongest of the three. The lyrics are much richer and more varied than the two songs at the top of the charts. The chorus features pounding piano, simple, if not unique, harmonies and an anthemic melodic line that make the piece a little more memorable than most ephemera.

Before I go into detail about these three songs, I want to say that I have no ax to grind when it comes to rock pop songs. I do not see it as the root of all evil. My interests are all kinds of classical music, from Leonidas to Stockhausen. I like some jazz and some folk/world music. I like it too some of them Rock and pop – but I don’t like all of it, and I think most of it is absurdly exaggerated. Kevin Coyne, Lou Reed, Van Morrison, Bob Dylan, and several other pop artists would be there with my Schubert, Strauss, and Wolff. But I believe that about 95%, probably a higher percentage, of the music we might call “pop” is meaningless and overrated. I predict that in 100 years all the pop music of the last two decades will be completely forgotten – but I probably won’t say “I told you so”!

I don’t want to ban any music or blame anyone who enjoys music I don’t like. Pop music has been around for a long time and has always been controversial, at least until recently. Rock ‘n’ rollers like Cliff Richard, Elvis Presley or the early Beatles, and even actors who now seem completely innocent, were attacked on moral grounds. Such criticism seems ridiculous now. The Rolling Stones were considered a menace to society. Now Sir Mick Jagger is an establishment man. At one point, Sex pistols were taken seriously as a sign of chaos. How many more years until John Lydon is knighted?

Such knee-jerk reaction is an overreaction. However, I believe that prolonged exposure to certain types of music can have harmful effects, and I would like to explain why I think so.

Music allows the lyrics (and the suggestions contained in those lyrics) to sink deeper into our consciousness than if we simply recited or listened to the lyrics read aloud. The reason for this is that music turns off our critical or analytical skills. (This only happens if we like the music. If we don’t, our critical faculties are strengthened instead of bypassed). None of this has been scientifically proven or proven in clinical trials, but for the sake of argument, let’s assume it’s true. What are the suggestions for today’s pop music listeners? So let’s go back to the first three:

Call me maybe not a love song. It’s a song about contentment. The wish is thrown into the well, which immediately gives the singer what he wants. We are told nothing about this man except for his ripped jeans and black skin. It’s not about feeling, it’s about wanting. Of course, it’s possible to feel instantly attracted to a complete stranger. Often it is accompanied by some kind of assumption or fantasy about the nature of the person. But sometimes it can only be related to the body and the other person is not considered as a human being. This song, then, celebrates the most basic form of human attraction, like two dogs sniffing each other.

Let’s Go has no narrative content. Its message is live in the moment and make it happen tonight. The words “creator” and “tonight” suggest that immediate sexual desire is the goal, but nowhere does it make it clear.

In We Are Young, relationships seem to go wrong, but it doesn’t matter, because we’re young, we’re great, we deserve the best, and everything is available to us if we just reach out and grab it.

Shallow self-satisfaction seems to be at the heart of each of these three best songs. I will reformulate their proposition as follows.

  • I deserve the best
  • What I want is most important.
  • It’s important to me if you turn me on and give me pleasure.
  • I have unlimited possibilities.
  • I’m amazing.
  • I can have whatever I want.

These opinions are a mix of good and bad, positive and negative. Of course, happiness and success require high self-esteem and a positive attitude. But when such suggestions occur in the context of a narcissist’s momentary self-indulgence, things turn downright toxic.

These top three songs might make us feel good for a few minutes. They are fast food and the musical equivalent of McDonalds for the ears. And we all know what a steady diet of burgers can do. And such songs appeal to our lowest, childish instincts.

Can it do any harm? What effect could it have? Honestly, I don’t know. Perhaps any negative effects are short-lived and may be countered by more positive cultural influences. But I’m really afraid that cultural products like these three songs can have an infantile effect on consumers. If we look at the wider picture, this is cause for doubt.

I left school at 16 and went straight into mainstream work after vocational training. So are my peers. Some of them soon became able to live independently, regardless of parental support. They were either in rented accommodation, or had bought their own apartment or first home. While in school, almost all of us had part-time jobs or other sources of income, which made us financially independent from our parents. When we were young, we were allowed to play unsupervised and had to take responsibility for our actions. Nowadays, there are few children who can earn money on their own. They are completely dependent on their parents until adolescence. With more and more young people pursuing higher education, today’s young people are unable to earn a living on their own until their twenties. They are supposed to be adults, but they are kept as children. The modern taste of pop music is fully symptomatic of this trend.

Why does modern pop music get such support from the very Establishment that condemned it? Sometimes politicians are asked about their taste in music, and the answer is tiresome: it’s always Coldplay or Radiohead, or The Smiths, or something non-elite and “trendy” for the last 15 years. I doubt that any sane politician would ever shamefacedly admit to liking Purcell and Bartok. Will the Cabinet Minister who owned the Varese or Gesualdo CD be asked to resign! Why is this? I think part of the answer is that modern pop music promotes a view of humanity that politicians of all parties embrace. We are consumers responsible for earning and spending money. Our little wishes and desires play an important role in this. We must acquire more, spend more money on outdated expensive gadgets and gizmos, indulge ourselves, follow every trend, follow every fashion, satisfy every desire – because we are worth it. I’m talking. It’s all about me. By doing so, we hope to shine brighter than the sun and contribute to an ever-growing economy. Heaven forbid we look the other way, think about the community rather than the individual, and put the needs and opinions of others alongside our own.

Youth is our future. They need to grow up early. So, let’s hope that someday they will turn their backs on the little nursery rhymes that the music industry has to offer today and seek out or create something with more substance. Something more healthy.

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