Backmasking Bieber, Black Keys, Kanye, Etc.: What Do You Hear?
"Turn me on, dead man."
"Turned out nice again."
"Eat donkey crap."
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.