Satan was the driving force behind Rock music when it first came out; that is if you buy into what every scared parent thought as they were losing control of their child. As time went on some musicians, even today, played into this perception by hiding dark messages into their songs. This was done through a procedure called Backmasking, which is essentially recording music that one hears when playing a song backwards. In the late 1800s, Thomas Edison, the genius who invented almost everything also invented the phonograph, a device that allowed sound to be recorded. He noted in his discoveries that even when playing the song backwards, the melodies were still sweet. It wasn’t until 80 years later that someone realized what Edison was talking about. In 1966, John Lennon (while high on marijuana) decided to play his song Rain, backwards. The next day he introduced backward recordings on four different songs on the Beatles album Revolver. Soon after, every artist followed suit. Over time the messages just kept getting darker and darker, to the point where legislation almost passed banning the process.
This article is not only about playing music backwards. Even when playing a song forwards there are hidden messages perceived by the public. Not all messages are satanic in nature. Many are comical while others are downright disturbing. The biggest controversy over these messages is the idea of free speech. Musical artists, especially rock bands of the 70s/ 80s and modern hip-hop artists, openly mock the boundaries of common decency. The things that some of them say in song would get most of us banned and deemed as outcasts. Many artists hide behind free speech and claim that their music is all an act, and consumers buy into this concept. The more controversial the lyrics, the greater the profit. A whole different article can be created about modern songs that are misogynistic and violent. In the end though, these artists are probably right. If you don’t like it don’t buy it and the disgusting lyrics you hear will cease in music. Maybe one day that concept can be accepted in the mainstream, as political correctness has left those who disagree with the moral majority, with their mouths closed out of fear.
15. Cradle of Filth – You Might Get An Evil Curse
The band formed in 1991 and started out their careers performing black metal, later polishing it to a more commercial form. When the song, ‘Dinner at Deviant’s palace’ (released in 2007) is played backwards, one hears the lord’s prayer recited backwards. Although it is nothing special for many artists to mock christian beliefs and traditions, this one is quite scary for one reason. Satanic cults perform this ritual, known as the backwards blessing, each time they want to place an evil curse on someone or harm someone. Some even say that during the ritual, followers are soaked with urine, or drink urine out of the sacrament cup in place of wine. Of course, all of these rituals are alleged because no one ever records them, but nevertheless scary when someone wants to invoke them in a hidden message.
14. The Mars Volta – Encouraging Corporal Punishment On Children
Rock music is their genre, and although not especially successful commercially, they did win a Grammy award in 2009. The band embedded several hidden messages on their album, Eunuch Provocateur. One of these messages appears when playing the song Itsy Bitsy Spider, backwards and it goes like this: “Have mommy or daddy ever had to spank you? Supposedly the excerpt was taken from a children’s record that a particular band member was fond of when he was young. Irony and sarcasm are hallmarks of many progressive and alternative rock bands, as such this is probably not an endorsement for this type of activity.
13. Robin Thicke – Date R*pe Is Okay
R*pey is a term used by the newest generation of feminists as a shorthand way of defining our apparent modern r*pe culture. ‘Blurred Lines’, the song released by Robin Thicke in 2013, has many believing that it promotes r*pe. The song’s chorus goes something like this: ”I hate these blurred lines! I know you want it”. The singer himself stated in a GQ interview that, “People say, ‘Hey, do you think this is degrading to women?’ I’m like, ‘Of course it is. What a pleasure it is to degrade a woman. I’ve never gotten to do that before. I’ve always respected women.'” Later Thicke changed his obviously sarcastic response to, ”I can’t dignify that with a response. That’s ridiculous.” Thicke’s defenders have argued that the woman in the song seems to want what’s going on. Some of the lyrics seem to indicate that the woman is interested. Looking at the lyrics, this argument is a stretch. Obviously many people believe that the hidden message here is that ‘date r*pe is okay’, and this song promotes victim blaming. Wonder what the readers think?
12. Frank Zappa – All Sorts Of Hidden Anger
Being a teenager can be an angry time in one’s life. For those who are into Rock music, Frank Zappa was always the kind of artist that could help you justify all of the little things you found annoying as a kid, but soon didn’t care about as you got older. In 1968, the song ‘Hot Poop’ had the following Trump-esque message for those critics who didn’t like the singer’s long hair: “Better look around before you say you don’t care. Shut your f**king mouth about the length of my hair. How would you survive if you were alive, shitty little person?” Apparently the singer thought so much of his opinion that he wanted the listener to try extra hard to hear it.
11. Third Eye Blind – Wanted Everyone Happy On Speed
What a ray of sunshine the song ‘Semi-Charmed Life’ was back in the 90s. It was so upbeat, we are betting that those who remember the song have the tune in their heads right now. What people don’t realize is that the song was a positive message about a couple using Crystal-Meth. Now that one realizes this, the chorus of: “I want something else/To get me through this life”, has a whole new meaning. In a Billboard interview lead singer Stephen Jenkins, explained that the happier than life melody was intentional, as the music reflected ”the bright shiny feeling you get on speed”.
If people actually understood the lyrics, the whole point of the song becomes apparent in the following verse: “The sky it was gold, it was rose. I was taking sips of it through my nose. And I wish I could get back there. Some place back there. Smiling in the pictures you would take. Doing crystal meth will lift you up until you break”. Most of us listening to the song would think that drug use was the hidden message, never even realizing that the message was as clear as day.
10. The Cure – Did They Inspire People To Hate Arabs?
Many women love dressing in black, and if they grew up in the 80s and 90s, this band was probably the reason why. Their albums were great for bipolar emotions, with happy songs like ‘Friday I’m In Love’ and ‘Just Like Heaven’, mixed in with depressing songs like ‘Fascination Street’. Their first ever single back in 1979 was a song called ‘Killing An Arab’. The title is so controversial that it isn’t even available for purchase right now.
What’s the hidden message here? In the end the song was an excerpt from the novel The Stranger, by Albert Camus, about the problems of Algerians living in France. According to the lead singer: “One of the themes of the song is that everyone’s existence is pretty much the same. Everyone lives, everyone dies, our existences are the same. It’s as far from a racist song as you can write. It seems though that no one can get past the title and that’s incredibly frustrating. The fact is it’s based on a book that’s set in France and deals with the problems of the Algerians, so it was only geographical reasons why it was an Arab and not anyone else.” Nevertheless skinheads did use the song as inspiration to conduct attacks when the song was released.
9. Tiger Army – Wanted Everyone To Know About Their Allegiances
Moving back to hidden messages from songs played backwards, we have this Psychobilly/ punk rock/post-punk/alternative rock band. Why so many acronyms to describe the band’s sound, one might ask? We have no answer for that question and we have no answer for the meaning of following lyrics you will hear when you play their song ‘Towards Destiny’ backwards: “Tiger Army never die, Tiger Army never die, Tiger Army never die. As the last tiger dies, the Ghost Tigers rise. Heed the call of the werecat Transylvania. We fight on the side of fate. Toward destiny, we ascend to it forever. Hail Satan.” What any of this means is anyone’s guess, but reading it doesn’t give one the feeling that their message is one of peace, love and happiness.
8. Nelly Furtado – Proves Every Conspiracy Theory About The Illuminati
Earrings appear to be the focus of the singer’s 2012 single called ‘Big Hoops’ (Bigger The Better). However, when one plays the single backwards the following message is heard: “Oh My God! Descending to the 13th floor, 14, 16. We’re on the 11th floor, descending to the 12th floor”. What does this mean? Probably nothing but because of the symbols that the singer used in her video, conspiracy theorists believe that the message has something to do with the Illuminati, that secret organization that is supposedly behind everything in every country around the world since the dawn of time. The singer never commented on anything; perhaps a good gimmick to entice more people to download the song.
7. Weird Al Yankovic – Beware Of The Devil’s Food
When everyone else on the planet is putting hidden satanic messages in their songs, then you know this guy is going to tag along and put those in his song parodies as well. In the song ‘Nature Trail to Hell’, the comedic singer paints this gloomy picture of a North American staple when he states: ”Satan eats Cheez Whiz.” Now that we all know this, consumers can think again about putting this product on their fries, Philly cheesesteaks, tacos and god knows what else. If the fact that the product has no cheese hasn’t stopped you from eating this, then Weird Al’s message must surely put the fear of God in you once you realize that you share the same tastes as the prince of darkness.
6. The Bloodhound Gang – Beefaroni Is The Road To Hell
Every one of us laughs and dances to the opening lyrics of their most famous song, ‘Bad Touch’; ‘‘Sweat baby sweat baby s**x is a Texas drought. Me and you do the kind of stuff that only Prince would sing about. So put your hands down my pants and I’ll bet you’ll feel nuts. Yes I’m Siskel, yes I’m Ebert and you’re getting two thumbs up”. That is not all they have to sing about, though. Play their song ‘Lift Your Head Up High (And Blow Your Brains Out)’ and you might begin to fear the wrath of Satan when you hear their hidden message of: “Devil child will wake up and eat Chef Boyardee Beefaroni”. One just starts to feel bad for all these American food staples which are being associated with the Devil. What did Chef Boyardee ever do to these guys?
5. Tool – Even Good Advice Can Send Chills Down Your Spine
Metal bands are synonymous on this list for their satanic messages. When Tool released their album 10,000 Days, it debuted at the number one spot on Billboard’s Charts. The band decided to try a different approach to hidden messages for the song ‘Intention’. At first, parents would be unable to contain their excitement when this song is played backwards with the message: “Listen to your mother. Your father is right. Work hard. Stay in school. Listen to your mother. Your father is right. Listen to your mother. Your father is right.” Of course the tone of the message can also dictate its meaning as well. Being true to form of most metal bands, the way the message is sung leaves one to believe that this is more of a protest statement for angry teens. As the anger in the voice that sings these lyrics heightens, so does the creep factor.
4. Kanye West – Needs A Favor Returned By Taylor Swift
The rapper turned reality star has never shied away from putting his thoughts in song, even if those thoughts can leave someone baffled and angry. In 2016 the singer released a song called ‘Famous’, containing the lyrics: “I feel like me and Taylor might still have s*x / Why? I made that b*tch famous”. The song hasn’t been fully explained in interviews but the actual meaning of those words is apparent. First off, Kanye feels that Taylor Swift is not good enough to have a career on her own and thus requires his help. Secondly, if Kanye helps out a girl he expects something specific in return, as his help is never free. There might be a hidden meaning to all of this and one wonders what it could be. At some point musicians just have to stop hiding behind their lyrics.
3. Bryan Adams – Wasn’t Even Around For The Summer Of ’69
The song ‘Summer of ’69’ may not have been the biggest hit of his illustrious career, but it is surely the song that stands the test of time the most, as it is still played over and over again on multiple music stations even today. The singer would have been 10 years old that summer, so obviously there was nothing in this song that he could remember. When you listen to the lyrics: “Man we were killin’ time. We were young and restless. We needed to unwind. I guess nothin’ can last forever – forever, no”, Bryan wasn’t singing about young love, but according to the singer he was reminiscing about his favorite position in a highly sugar coated kind of way.
2. Bruce Springsteen – Would Rather Be Born Elsewhere
What could be more American than apple pie? Bruce Springsteen‘s anthem Born in The USA, that’s what. July 4th is nothing without this song blaring in someone’s backyard or in some small town parade. The album cover features a great big American flag as well. Most people just hear what they want to hear because this song is the opposite of patriotic. It is a scathing attack on American Pride, the Vietnam war and the troubles of the working man in the country. The lyrics are obvious as there really is no hidden meaning: “Got in a little hometown jam. So they put a rifle in my hand. Sent me off to a foreign land. To go and kill the yellow man. Born in the U.S.A. I was born in the U.S.A. Come back home to the refinery. Hiring man says. Son if it was up to me”. Sometimes hidden messages aren’t so hidden.
1. John Lennon – Had A Hidden Message About His Version Of Peace
John Lennon died a hero in 1980. As far as this author is concerned, he was a musical legend whose loss should be mourned forever. His song ‘Imagine’ was exalted by everyone as a song of peace and love. Its lyrics suggesting that the only road to peace was by eliminating religion, all possessions and all borders. Doesn’t this sound like the motto for something else entirely? If one understands communism, then the lyrics sound very similar. There’s a reason for that; Lennon himself stated that this song was virtually the communist manifesto. According to an autobiography from James Henke, Lennon stated that: “Because it’s sugarcoated it’s accepted. Now I understand what you have to do—put your message across with a little honey.” The song that Jimmy Carter has stated could be “used almost equally with national anthems”, is actually a danger to the world, as everyone has seen what happens to individuals who oppose communist governments or governments whose laws force you to think like everyone else; “Imagine there’s no Countries… I hope some day you’ll join us. And the world will live as one.” Replace the sugar coated word hope with something else and you have words used by the world’s most despicable thugs. Then again, thugs can twist the meaning of almost anything.