Thursday, March 19, 2009

Rock 'n roll - the work of the devil!

Today I'm thinking about evil and music!

I've been inspired since I stumbled across the Louvin Brothers Satan Is Real album. As the cover attests - "Ira and Charlie pour out their beliefs and convictions born of a deep-seated religious upbringing. You will hear them raise their voices in honest opinion, in quiet beauty, then in the same breath, call out in furious outrage as they conduct, through their music, a personal crusade against the Prince of Darkness.."
And so I've discovered an entire genre of 'devil conquering evangelical country music' I didn't know existed yesterday... there a couple of really catchy guitar riffs in there too! While listening to ditties such as The drunkard' s doom and Satan's jewelled crown, my mind begins to wander...

What about evil themes throughout music history?

The history of rock 'n roll - from Robert Johnson's Me and the Devil Blues, the 1960s shakin' hips and "voodoo music" to Marilyn Manson's links with teenage suicide... What have been the defining moments, artists and songs associated with the work of the devil?

Back-masking - I've been looking at Youtube trying to find good examples of backmasking... gee there's some extreme views out there! I'd like to investigate it further though... I'm gathering a list of tracks that have 'satanic verses' when played backwards.

The sinister tone - why do all horror movie scores have that familiar creepy sound? Is there a formula for a chilling mood? Don't get me wrong I think theremins are amazing instruments and all; but.. boy they make my spine tingle!

I hope you can help shed some light!


  1. Here's a link to backmasking coz I dindt know what it was.

    In the front-end evaluation music didn't really come up but I think it is an interesting contemporary angle to explore. It's a very relevant topic/lead in to exploring how the ways we perceive evil are continually changing. Think when parents thought Elvis was evil, now we se him as benign! How did that shift happen? When does 'evil' become 'mainstreamed'?

  2. The Marilyn Manson connection is a really strong one. If you do some research you will find so much information about both the public's perception of him and his music, and of his own ideas and feelings both about his music and persona, and his reaction to his public perception. A great starting point would be to read the lyrics of his early albums - Portrait of an American Family and Antichrist Superstar, and then to read his biography - I think it is called Long Hard Road Out of Hell but am not entirely certain.

  3. This might be helpful

  4. Hi,

    While we're talking popular culture, I'm wondering if the theme of film villains has been explored? I think many people could name the film villain that they are most afraid of. For me it would be Frank Booth from 'Blue Velvet'. There is also Hannibal Lecter, Norman Bates, Darth Vader, The Wicked Witch of the West, Travis Bickle from 'Taxi Driver', Dracula, Freddy Krueger, Chucky, The Joker, that awful clown in 'It' and a stack more. I think an audience interested in the 'evil' in music would be interested in the 'evil' in film. And their images or weapon of choice would be instantly recognisable.

    Also, one other thought - I know the audience evaluation said that people weren't keen on paintings, but what about some of the older ones such as 'The Garden of Earthly Delights' by Bosch?

  5. I love music, more than most people do. I've been looking into backmasking for quiet a while. Backmasking has been a musical technique employed since pretty long ago, satanic blackmasking is more of an 80's thing. To be honest.. most bands admit to the use of it for commercial purposes and it DOES sound commercial, like the growling and all (mostly death metal bands) BUT.. the only piece that actually sent a chill down my spine was Stairway to Heaven by Led Zepplin, when i played it backwards.. the lyrics were not commercial at all.. they sounded.. REAL.. i know it sounds stupid but hey.. T.T