Music Lists

Doja Cat's 10 Best Lyrics

Doja's wordplay game is unparalleled.

Doja Cat's Spotify Profile Pic

You might know her from her viral "Moooo" music video about being a cow, but Doja Cat has a strong catalogue of catchy songs.

With her two smash hits "Say So" and "Juicy" rising up in the charts, Doja Cat is here to stay. With witty word play and cutting commentary, here are the top ten Doja Cat verses that are just straight fire.

10. "Cookie Jar"

Doja Cat holding her treat

He call me Oreo, break it and lick the flavor off,

It's my modern life, make me wanna find some Rocko nig

F*ck talkin', she record that, Pokémon Go, you Snorlax

You won't get these sweets again, like Violet, you childish

These explicit verses from Doja Cat's song about being a snack reference four bomb things: the classic Oreo cookie, the iconic 90's cartoon "Rocko's Modern Life," the addictive Pokemon app, and Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. We can't help but stan, since she gave homage to the pillars of pop culture and our 90s childhood.

9. "Rules"

Doja Cat bringing some snake action in her "Rules" music video

Wanna shake that ass

I'ma do this sh*t in slow motion

Look at me like I'm alien

B*itch, I'm f*cking reptilian

You have to love that Doja Cat references Mystikal's "Shake Ya Ass" and Juvenile's "Slow Motion" from the golden era of the early 2000s. But what impresses most in this song is Doja throwing some conspiracy bars. Apparently, celebs, high ranking politicians, and world leaders are actually from an alien reptilian race that are able to shape-shift and control the world. Haven't you seen Justin Bieber's "reptilian" video?

8. "Moo"

Classic Doja Cat snapshot of her 2018 viral "Moo" music video

Milkshake brings all the boys to the farm

And they're like, it's better than yours

Damn right, it's better than yours

I can treat you, but I have to charge

It's not just the fact that Doja references Kelis' fire song "Milkshake," but a milkshake is also...wait for it...dairy. It just fits so seamlessly.

7. "No Police"

Doja Cat's cover art for her 2014 debut album

Like, all these bars, no police

Whee-ooh whee-ooh, whee-ooh whee-ooh

He calls me copper tone

Smoking ultraviolet

We turn off the phone

I'm in autopilot

Make that disappear

Mr. Copperfield

As Doja Cat makes clear in her songs, she also likes to smoke weed so it makes sense she talks about smoking ultraviolet and just vibing in "autopilot". the fact that she references renowned magician/illusionist David Copperfield in a song about bars but no police (meaning her verses) is a nice touch considering Copperfield has done plenty of illusions and tricks with chains/shackles. Doja has a talent for referencing popular figures way past her time (she's only 24!).

6. "Streets"

Doja Cat looking like a queen in her Vevo Live session of "Streets"

When other chickens tryna get in my coop

'Cause you're a one in a million, there ain't no man like you

Send your location, come through

Another pop culture reference to the late singer Aaliyah. One of her hits was a song titled "One in a Million" (which is also the title of her sophomore album) which discussed the topic of love and commitment. The line about the chickens and coop is hilarious since Doja is comparing her love interest to a rooster -- there's no room for other chickens or ladies. Of course, the line about sending the location is a throwback to R&B/pop singer Khalid's "Location."

5. "All Nighter"

Doja Cat feelin' herself in this edgy, denim look

Practice, knee-deep in your tactic

Back it up, beep beep, no U-Haul

Tossed salad, no cheese, no croutons

Said it don't taste cheap, no coupon

Doja has plenty of dirty lyrics and this one just walks the line of extremely explicit and hilarious. From the "Beep Beep" line as she backs it up (with no U-Haul) for her partner, to the notion of a tossed salad. Basically, Doja Cat wants y'all to know she's high quality and delicious if you catch my drift.

4. "Addiction"

"Addiction" is from Doja Cat's newest album "Hot Pink"

We could get that white girl lit like Madonna

Bitch, I ain't Gwen but this shit is bananas

It's only right that Doja Cat references the Queen of Pop herself Madonna when she's talking about getting white girl wasted. Madonna did release a song titled "Bitch I'm Madonna" where she's just dancing and partying all night with every celeb— even Beyonce! The line about shit getting crazy calls for that flawless Gwen Stefani feature. I think we can all agree that "Hollaback Girl" helped us all spell bananas.

3. "Tia Tamera" Ft. Rico Nasty

Doja Cat and Rico Nasty having fun in the "Tia Tamera" music video

Cheese like pizzeria, have a seat bitch, please, Ikea

From the Westside like Maria, I'm hot like grits, Madea

Beat the pussy up call PETA, I rock the boat like Aaliyah

West Side Story, IKEA, Tyler Perry's iconic Madea character, and singer Aaliyah are an odd combo but the rhyme is priceless and pretty accurate considering Doja Cat is making bank, from the west side (born and raised in LA), and up and coming or "hot" now. She's "rocked the boat" with minor controversies and even gets a little political with PETA. It's a nice touch since Doja loves and has cats in real life. Not to mention, the song title is a reference to celeb twins Tia and Tamera Mowry and, according to Doja, her big boobs. Only Doja Cat can sing about her assets in such memorable fashion.

2. "Cyber Sex"

Doja Cat petting her kitty in her "Cyber Sex" music video

We freak on the cam

Love at first sight, just a link to the 'Gram

Met him on Tinder, he just swiped left on bitches

And he don't even scroll through Insta

'Less he going through my pictures

You a creep, I saw you on Dateline

You ain't gettin pussy, you f*cking a A.I

Huh-oh, what a time to be alive

Living in the future, blinging on my hotline

This Doja Cat song about sexting is truly underrated. In this day and age, technology is vital to a healthy dating life. The lines talking about Instagram, Tinder, and freaking on camera is on point considering that we all send pics (not to mention the high probability you'll get nudes pretty quickly once you match online). Talking about creeps like the ones on Dateline news and the whole A.I. argument is straight fire. The Drake "hotline bling" reference in regards to Doja's line going off in this digital age is just *chef's kiss*. Not to mention, she includes Facetime in her song when she talks about head. I mean, it's a banger all around, no pun intended.

1. "Juicy"

Doja Cat and all her juicy fruits

He beg for that, I bend and snap

She keep it juicy just for papi, call me Buffy with the body

I just slipped into my savage and come over like a walkie

Like her song about her boobs, "Juicy" discusses Doja's other assets—her ass. What is there not to love? Doja sings about Legally Blonde with her bend and snap line which we all know is a tactic to get a guy's attention. If that's not enough nostalgia, Doja brings up Buffy the Vampire Slayer cause Doja is slayin' with her curvy body that she keeps thick or "juicy" for her man. But the Crème de la crème is the fact that Doja Cat slips into Rihanna's Savage x Fenty lingerie to come over to his place like a "walkie." What do we say when we talk on a walkie? We say "over."

Needless to say, you should be proud to stan a quirky, confident, and talented queen like Amala Zandile Dlamini—the one and only Doja Cat.

Doja Cat showing off her ASS-ets flawlessly

MUSIC

Do I Dislike Selena Gomez's "Rare" Because I Hate Women?

A review of Selena Gomez's "Rare" and an interrogation of said review.

The Review

Selena Gomez's first full-length album since 2015 is out today.

It's supposed to be a comeback, a declaration of strength and self-love following a destructive relationship, and it fulfills this task admirably.

Rare is... fine. It offers an inspiring message about healing and growth, and it's a marked improvement from Gomez's previous work. Many of these songs will make exquisite soundtracks in grocery stores, malls, and clubs. They're danceable, energized but not excessive. They're easy listening, poised to go down like a sugary cocktail or a Xanax. Amidst the fluff, there are high points. "Vulnerable" is pristine emotional pop in the vein of Carly Rae Jepsen, and it's cut through with the quiet strength that seems to form the album's crux. "Lose You to Love Me" is also an exception. It's heavy with intense high drama, laden with the kind of lush choral embellishments that often soundtracked those odd American Idol finale performances.

With that said, Rare is fairly generic, rather restrained, and definitely designed to fill a specific niche. It's slightly kitschy, limp pop, studded with lyrics like, "I'm breaking hearts like a heart attack / wrap 'round my finger like a ring." Gomez often sings quickly, adopting a kind of speak-sing tone that can feel at odds with the delicate fragility of her voice.

Sometimes this recipe works, but sometimes it collapses in on itself. Songs like "Let Me Get Me" are almost hellishly claustrophobic in the way that they repeat the same motif over and over, staying within the same three to five-note range. The same goes for "Kinda Crazy," which is exhaustingly repetitive and surprisingly stagnant, especially for an album that's supposed to be about finding one's power and worth. Sonically, there are light touches of reggaeton and R&B, but mostly the album stays strictly in a pop landscape that would've fit in better two decades ago. Against today's multi-genre landscape, it falls flat, especially when considered against the infinite amount of other music that is perpetually grasping for a fraction of the kind of attention that Rare is getting.

Overall, the album lacks sonic and thematic depth, mostly offering platitudes about getting over a lover who doesn't care enough, never really diving into the ragged parts of Gomez's psyche. She's not obligated, of course, to share her feelings with anyone. But the problem is that Rare feels almost cyborgian in its detachment (though not in a purposeful Caroline Polachek way; instead, it feels like Gomez was trying and failing to be very real on Rare).

Selena Gomez - Rare (Official Music Video) www.youtube.com

The Reflection

As I wrote this, I began to wonder something. Why, really, does Selena Gomez's music bother me so much? It would be delusional to say that the entirety of my distaste is solely based on the quality of her music. If that was the case, it would've been easier for me to ignore the album entirely.

Honestly, I recognize this brand of distaste. It's the same dislike that turned me against similarly generic pop stars like early Miley Cyrus, Taylor Swift when she went pop, and the Dua Lipas and Camila Cabellos of today. So maybe the better question is: Why do I dislike the Selena Gomezes of the world so much? Why is this specific kind of mainstream, female-driven pop so abrasive to me and so many others? Am I being sexist for writing this? Am I missing something?

As a writer, I think it's important to acknowledge that every observation I make is colored by my own individual experiences and biases. Every opinion has deep roots, and many are born in our formative years. Perhaps I dislike aggressively "likable" pop queens like Selena Gomez because they remind me of how much I disliked the beautiful, popular girls that crowded my youth. Knowing I could never be them, I began listening to indie music, rejecting the pop juggernaut and beginning the inevitable downward spiral that would culminate in a move to Brooklyn. I disliked them (the girls and the pop stars, who were somehow united in my mind) because they appeared happy (even if they were not), and in love, and flush with money and resources and keratined hair.

In Roxane Gay's essay "Not Here to Make Friends," she criticizes the ideal of the "likable" female character, writing, "I want characters to do the things I am afraid to do for fear of making myself more unlikable than I may already be. I want characters to be the most honest of all things—human."

She goes on to critique the very ideal of "likeability" in literary criticism, a point that certainly extends to music criticism. Whether someone is "likable" or "unlikable" shouldn't influence how we hear music, but yet at least under our current economic system, likability—and in Selena Gomez's case, likes themselves—are a form of currency, so inevitably it will influence our perception. Perhaps the ideal of the vibrant, sociable, super-likeable woman is something I was taught, early on, that I couldn't live up to—and so I began to idealize difficult, unlikeable, unruly characters.

I've wondered if there was some internalized sexism to this, some woman-hatred rooted in my own frustration with the unattainable ideal that these pop goddesses and their generic music presented. I don't think I'm alone in feeling scarred by the envy and competitiveness with other girls and women that we are taught, as young girls, to nurture. Capitalism teaches us to hate other women, and to hold ourselves to impossible ideals that would fall apart if we let go of the desire to compete and attain said ideal. It teaches us that no matter what we have (and I had a lot), we need to become something more.

So maybe I dislike Selena Gomez's album because—even though she's come clean about her own personal struggles many times—her sound and image feel inextricable from the pristine pop music she creates. Her music reminds me of the emotionless, simulacra-like absence of genuine feeling or creativity that I instinctively associate with many of the people I grew up with. It brings me back to the suburban conformity and perma-smiles I used to blindly long to escape.

If anything, I think that my dislike of Selena Gomez's music is rooted less in sexism and more in a frustration with the space between who I am and who Selena Gomez is branded to be or what she represents in my mind—a space that, whether it's real or imagined, feels infinite. Even if authenticity is an illusion, the Gomez of Rare feels saccharine, glossy, and half-alive, devoid of some internal life-force that powers most of the music I love. Even though I know that Gomez has struggled with anxiety, depression and a variety of illnesses, the space she occupies in my mind is that of a hyperreal object, a chimera who exists more as a projection of a nonexistent ideal than anything else.

Maybe I just don't like the album. After all, I love Kim Petras, Carly Rae Jepsen, new and old Kesha, Rihanna, and Lady Gaga; and more recently, Billie Eilish and Lizzo have come to symbolize my greatest hopes for pop.

Regardless, none of this will change the fact that Gomez (with her 165 million Instagram followers in tow) is currently topping the charts and going viral. And I understand that although Selena Gomez's album sounds shallow and a bit like meaningless drivel to me, it's going to be vitally important to a lot of folks. It's going to uplift the spirits of people across the world, walking home from school or working in restaurants, playing out in bars and Lyfts and doing what pop music does best, which is making the painfulness of everyday life a little more bearable, adding a spring to the step of everyone who hears it, smoothing out the kinks, and plastering illusory iridescent wallpaper over the rough greyness of the everyday.

Selena Gomez - A Sweeter Place (Official Lyrics) ft. Kid Cudi www.youtube.com

In Conclusion

Not every album has to be an exhausting excavation of the soul or a collage of a million different sonic influences. There is a place for iridescent fabrication. Perhaps Selena Gomez puts it best on "A Sweeter Place" when she sings, "Is there a place where I can hide away? Red lips, french kiss my worries all away. There must be a sweeter place / We can sugarcoat the taste."

She could be speaking about her own music, or her own life, which both present an illusion, a place to hide, a soft world where growth and healing can happen. Of course we're left with questions; who gets to experience this kind of healing, and who gets left behind in the end?

MUSIC

13 Musicians Influenced By Psychedelics

Some wild stories from great musicians who dabbled in hallucinogens.

The story of psychedelics is intertwined with the story of music, and tracing their relationship can feel like going in circles.

For thousands of years, artists have been using naturally-grown herbs to open their minds and enhance their creative processes. Since LSD was synthesized by Albert Hoffman in 1938, psychedelics have experienced a reemergence, blooming into a revolution in the 1960s, launching dozens of genres and sounds that focused on acid, shrooms, and all of the portals they opened. Around the 1960s, scientists also began studying the relationship between psychedelics and music, and even back then, researchers found that, when combined, music and psychedelics could have therapeutic effects on patients.

More modern studies have discovered that LSD, specifically, links a portion of the brain called the parahippocampal—which specializes in personal memory—to the visual cortex, which means that memories take on more autobiographical and visual dimensions. Other studies have found that LSD can make the timbres and sounds of music feel more meaningful and emotionally powerful. Today, psychedelic music still thrives, and you can hear flickers of those early trip-inspired experiences all across today's modern musical landscape.

"There is a message intrinsically carried in music, and under the effects of psychedelics, people seem to become more responsive to this," said the psychedelic researcher Mendel Kaelen. "Emotion can be processed more deeply. It's a beautiful narrative. It's like a snake biting itself in the tail."

All that said, psychedelics can be as dangerous as the archetypal live-fast-die-young rock and roller's average lifestyle. They can destabilize already fragile minds and can encourage further drug abuse and reckless behavior. Often, psychedelic revolutions have coincided with colonialist fetishizations, apocalyptic visions, and appropriations of Eastern culture.

However, sometimes psychedelics and musical talent can come together in a synergy so perfect that it can literally create transcendent and healing experiences. Hallucinogens affected each of these following musicians in a unique way, but their experiences with hallucinogens produced some of the greatest music of all time.

Harry Styles — She

In his revelatory Rolling Stone profile, Harry Styles spoke out about how magic mushrooms inspired his most recent album, Fine Line. Inspired by Fleetwood Mac, the 25-year-old apparently spent a lot of time at Shangri-La Studios in Los Angeles tripping and listening to the old psychedelic greats.

fine line - harry styles (slowed n reverb) www.youtube.com

"Ah, yes. Did a lot of mushrooms here," he said in the interview during a tour of the studio. "We'd do mushrooms, lie down on the grass, and listen to Paul McCartney's Ram in the sunshine."

Things even got a little violent, as they often can when dealing with hallucinogens. "This is where I was standing when we were doing mushrooms and I bit off the tip of my tongue. So I was trying to sing with all this blood gushing out of my mouth. So many fond memories, this place," he reminisced affectionately.

Harry Styles - She (Official Audio) www.youtube.com


Kacey Musgraves — Slow Burn

Kacey Musgraves' dreamy song "Slow Burn" was apparently inspired by an acid trip. Listening to the lyrics, you can hear the influence of psychedelics twining with country and singer-songwriter tropes. "I was sitting on the porch, you know, having a good, easy, zen time," she said of the songwriting experience, which she said happened out on her porch one evening. "I wrote it down on my phone, and then wrote the songs the next day with a sober mind."

Kacey Musgraves - Slow Burnwww.youtube.com

LSD, she said, "opens your mind in a lot of ways. It doesn't have to be scary. People in the professional worlds are using it, and it's starting to become an option for therapy. Isn't that crazy?" Her affection for the drug also appears in her song "Oh What A World," which contains the lyric, "Plants that grow and open your mind."


A$AP Rocky — L$D

While A$AP Rocky's affection for LSD isn't a surprise given his propensity for writing about the drug, apparently the rapper has an intellectual approach to his psychedelic experimentation.

"We was all in London at my spot, Skeppy came through," he told Hot New Hip Hop about his experience writing LSD. "I have this psychedelic professor, he studies in LSD. I had him come through and kinda record and monitor us to actually test the product while being tested on. We did the rhymes all tripping balls."

Apparently his first acid trip happened in 2012. "Okay, without getting anyone in trouble, I was with my homeboy and some trippy celebrity chicks and…" he said in an interview with Time Out. When asked how long it lasted, he said, "Too long, man. Twenty-three hours. I was trippin' till the next day. When I woke up, I was like, Damn! I did that shit! That shit was dope. It was so amazing. It was a-ma-zing. Nothing was like that first time."

Acid changed his entire approach to music and success. "I never really gave a f*ck, man, but this time, I really don't give a f*ck," he said. "I don't care about making no f*cking hits." Instead, he focuses on creating. "It's so hard to be progressive when you're trippin' b*lls," he said. "You make some far-out shit!"

A$AP Rocky - L$D (LOVE x $EX x DREAMS) www.youtube.com


The Beatles — Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds

The Beatles' later music is essentially synonymous with LSD, and the band members often spoke out about their unique experiences with the drug. According to Rolling Stone, the first time that Lennon and Harrison took it was actually a complete accident. A friend put LSD in their coffee without their knowledge, and initially Lennon was furious. But after the horror and panic faded, things changed. "I had such an overwhelming feeling of well-being, that there was a God, and I could see him in every blade of grass. It was like gaining hundreds of years of experience in 12 hours," said Harrison.

Paul McCartney had similar revelations. LSD "opened my eyes to the fact that there is a God," he said in 1967. "It is obvious that God isn't in a pill, but it explained the mystery of life. It was truly a religious experience." Of LSD's effect, he also said, "It started to find its way into everything we did, really. It colored our perceptions. I think we started to realize there wasn't as many frontiers as we'd thought there were. And we realized we could break barriers."

Using the drug not only helped the band create some of the most legendary music of all time—it also brought them closer together. "After taking acid together, John and I had a very interesting relationship," said George Harrison. "That I was younger or I was smaller was no longer any kind of embarrassment with John. Paul still says, 'I suppose we looked down on George because he was younger.' That is an illusion people are under. It's nothing to do with how many years old you are, or how big your body is. It's down to what your greater consciousness is and if you can live in harmony with what's going on in creation. John and I spent a lot of time together from then on and I felt closer to him than all the others, right through until his death."

Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds (Remastered 2009) www.youtube.com


Ray Charles — My World

The soul music pioneer allegedly once described acid as his "eyes." Charles was blind, but LSD is said to have allowed him some version of sight. Though he struggled with addiction, Charles eventually got clean, though his music always bore some markers of his experiences with the subconscious mind.

Actually, blind people on LSD and hallucinogens can experience hallucinations of different kinds, though it's somewhat rare. According to a study in the journal Consciousness and Cognition, this happens because during a trip, "the plasticity of the nervous system allows the recognition and translation of auditory or tactile patterns into visual experiences."

Ray Charles-My World www.youtube.com


Eric Clapton — Layla

Clapton struggled with drug abuse throughout his life, and LSD certainly had an influence on him. While he was a part of Cream, he frequently played shows while tripping, and according to outontrip.com, he became "convinced that he could turn the audience into angels or devils according to the notes he played."

Eric Clapton - Layla www.youtube.com


Chance the Rapper — Acid Rap

Before he was creating the ultimate dad rap, Chance the Rapper was an acidhead.

"None of the songs are really declarative statements; a lot of them are just things that make you wonder...a lot like LSD," said Chance the Rapper of his hallucinogen-inspired album, the aptly named Acid Rap. "[There] was a lot of acid involved in Acid Rap," he told MTV in 2013. "I mean, it wasn't too much — I'd say it was about 30 to 40 percent acid ... more so 30 percent acid."

But the album wasn't merely about acid; like much of the best psychedelic music, it was more about the imagery and symbolism associated with the drug than the actual drug itself. "It wasn't the biggest component at all. It was something that I was really interested in for a long time during the making of the tape, but it's not necessarily a huge faction at all. It was more so just a booster, a bit of fuel. It's an allegory to acid, more so than just a tape about acid," he said.

Chance The Rapper - Acid Rain www.youtube.com


John Coltrane — Om

Jazz great John Coltrane was a regular LSD user who used the drug to create music and to have spiritual experiences. Though he struggled with addiction throughout his life, LSD was one drug that had a major artistic influence on him. While it's not known for sure if the album Om—which includes chanted verses of the Bhagavad Gita—was recorded while Coltrane was on LSD, many rumors theorize that it was.

"Coltrane's LSD experiences confirmed spiritual insights he had already discovered rather than radically changing his perspective," wrote Eric Nisenson in Ascension: John Coltrane and His Quest. "After one early acid trip he said, 'I perceived the interrelationship of all life forms,' an idea he had found repeated in many of the books on Eastern theology that he had been reading for years. For Coltrane, who for years had been trying to relate mystical systems such as numerology and astrology, theories of modern physics and mathematics, the teachings of the great spiritual leaders, and advanced musical theory, and trying somehow to pull these threads into something he could play on his horn. The LSD experience gave him visceral evidence that his quest was on the right track."

John Coltrane - Om ॐ FULL ALBUM www.youtube.com


Jenny Lewis — Acid Tongue

Rilo Kiley frontwoman Jenny Lewis wrote the song "Acid Tongue" about her first and only experience on LSD, which happened when she was fourteen. She told Rolling Stone, "It culminated in a scene not unlike something from Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas—the scene where Hunter S. Thompson has to lock the lawyer in the bathroom. I sort of assumed the Hunter S. Thompson character and my friend – she had taken far too much – decided to pull a butcher knife out of the kitchen drawer and chase me around the house… At the end of that experience, my mom was out of town on a trip of her own and she returned to find me about 5 lbs lighter and I had—I was so desperate to get back to normal I decided to drink an entire gallon of orange juice. I saw that it was in the fridge and decided that this would sort of flush the LSD out of my system, but I didn't realize that it did exactly the opposite."

Acid Tongue - Jenny Lewis www.youtube.com


The Beach Boys — California Girls

The Beach Boys' mastermind Brian Wilson was famously inspired by psychedelics, which both expanded and endangered his fragile and brilliant mind. After his first acid trip in 1965, an experience that he said "expanded his mind," Wilson wrote "California Gurls." After the trip, however, Wilson began suffering from auditory hallucinations and symptoms of schizophrenia, and though he discontinued use of the drug, he continued to hear voices; doctors eventually diagnosed him with the disease. Wilson later lamented his tragic experiences with LSD, stating that he wished he'd never done the drug.

Though it led Wilson on a downward spiral, LSD inspired some of his band's greatest work—namely the iconic Pet Sounds, which launched half a century of "acid-pop copycats."

Beach Boys California Girls www.youtube.com


The Flaming Lips — Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots

The Flaming Lips' "Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots" is widely believed to be the product of lead singer Wayne Coyne's LSD experimentation. This theory is corroborated by the fact that the album's cover features the number 25 (and LSD is also known as LSD-25). They also frequently reference LSD in their music, which includes an album called Finally, the Punk Rockers Are Taking Acid.

More recently, Coyne made an LSD-inspired, NSFW short film with fellow acid-user and friend, Miley Cyrus.

the flaming lips yoshimi battles the pink robots part 1 www.youtube.com


Jimi Hendrix — Voodoo Child

While there is still some general contention on whether Jimi Hendrix hallucinated frequently, nobody really doubts that he did. According to rumors, the legendary musician even used to soak his bandanas in acid before going onstage so the drug would seep through his pores.

Jimi Hendrix 'Voodoo Child' (Slight Return) www.youtube.com

According to one source, Hendrix did more than just play music while tripping. He was also an expert at (of all things) the game of Risk.

"Jimi would play Risk on acid, and I never — and me personally — ever beat him at all," said Graham Nash in an interview. "He was unbelievable at it. He was a military man, you know, he's a paratrooper, and I don't know whether you know that about Jimi, but no one ever beat him at Risk."

Jimi Hendrix Interview [Rainbow Bridge] www.youtube.com


The Doors — The End

Jim Morrison was a documented LSD user, and it eventually led him out of his mind. "The psychedelic Jim I knew just a year earlier, the one who was constantly coming up with colorful answers to universal questions, was being slowly tortured by something we didn't understand. But you don't question the universe before breakfast for years and not pay a price," said John Desmore in Riders on the Storm: My Life With the Doors.

Morrison used many different drugs during his lifetime, but apparently LSD had a special place and he avoided using it while working. "LSD was a sacred sacrament that was to be taken on the beach at Venice, under the warmth of the sun, with our father the sun and our mother the ocean close by, and you realised how divine you were," said Ray Manzarek. "It wasn't a drug for entertainment. You could smoke a joint and play your music, as most musicians did at the time. But as far as taking LSD, that had to be done in a natural setting."

Jim Morrison psychedelic interview www.youtube.com

Morrison himself—a visionary who was also a drug-addled narcissist—was kind of the prototypical 1960s LSD-addled rock star. Alive with visions about poetry and sex but lost in his own self-destruction, he perhaps touched on something of the sublime with his art, but in the end he went down a very human path towards misery and decay.

Like many of these artists' stories, Morrison's life reveals that perhaps instead of using hallucinogens and psychedelics as shortcuts to a spiritual experience, one should exercise extreme caution when exploring the outer reaches of the psyche. When it comes to actually engaging with potent hallucinogens, that might be best left to the shamans, or forgotten with the excesses of the 1960s.

On the other hand, we might do well to learn from the lessons that people have gleaned from hallucinogens over the years—lessons that reveal just how interconnected everything is, that show us that music and memory and nature may just all stem from the same place.

Musicians x Psychedelics open.spotify.com

Certain musicians are blessed with the ability to hear, see, feel, or taste music, a variant of the neurological condition known as synesthesia.

While you don't need to have synesthesia in order to be a great musician, there seems to be a significant correlation between musicians capable of creating exceptionally impactful tunes and those who perceive sound in color. Here are some of the most noteworthy musicians with synesthesia:

Frank Ocean

Anyone who's heard Frank Ocean's Blonde knows that the album exists in more than one dimension, and this isn't an accident. Ocean sees colors associated with his music, and his album Channel Orange was inspired by the color he saw when he first fell in love (which was, obviously, orange).

Pink Matter www.youtube.com


Lorde

Extra Minutes | How Lorde sees sound as colour www.youtube.com

Lorde has described synesthesia as a driving force behind all her music, and like Ocean, she has sound-to-color synesthesia, which means all music has a color in her mind. "If a song's colors are too oppressive or ugly, sometimes I won't want to work on it," she once told MTV. "When we first started 'Tennis Court' we just had that pad playing the chords, and it was the worst textured tan colour, like really dated, and it made me feel sick, and then we figured out that prechorus and I started the lyric, and the song changed to all these incredible greens overnight!"

Lorde - Green Light www.youtube.com

Stevie Wonder

Even though he's blind, the musical legend and innovator Stevie Wonder can see the colors of his music in his head, which might explain why his music sounds so vast and rich.

Stevie Wonder - Moon Blue www.youtube.com

Billy Joel

The "Piano Man" singer can see the colors of the music that he plays, and it sounds like his perception is influenced by tempo and mood. "When I think of different types of melodies which are slower or softer, I think in terms of blues or greens," he said. "When I [see] a particularly vivid color, it is usually a strong melodic, strong rhythmic pattern which emerges at the same time," he said. "When I think of these songs, I think of vivid reds, oranges, and golds."

Billy Joel - Scenes from an Italian Restaurant (Official Audio) www.youtube.com


Kanye West

The brilliant musician and recently born-again Christian once said that all his music has a visual component. "Everything I sonically make is a painting," he said. "I see it. I see the importance and the value of everyone being able to experience a more beautiful life."

Kanye West - All Of The Lights ft. Rihanna, Kid Cudi www.youtube.com

For West, visuals need to be compatible with the colors he hears in his head. "I see music in color and shapes and all and it's very important for me when I'm performing or doing a video that the visuals match up with the music – the colors, y'know," he said. "A lot of times it's a lonely piano [that] can look like a black and white visual to fit that emotion, even though pianos are blue to me and bass and snares are white; bass lines are like dark brown, dark purple."

No Church In The Wild www.youtube.com


Pharrell Williams

The "Happy" singer (a yellow song if there ever was one) has been open about his synesthesia, and he has a very in-depth way of perceiving musical color. "There are seven basic colors: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet," he said. And those also correspond with musical notes…White, believe it or not, which gives you an octave is the blending of all the colors…" So that means chords would be blends of different shades, and harmonies would likely involve the blending of compatible colors. For Pharrell, synesthesia is instrumental to his creative process and to his worldview at large. "It's my only reference for understanding," he said. "I don't think I would have what some people would call talent and what I would call a gift. The ability to see and feel [this way] was a gift given to me that I did not have to have. And if it was taken from me suddenly I'm not sure that I could make music. I wouldn't be able to keep up with it. I wouldn't have a measure to understand."

Pharrell Williams - Happy (Official Music Video) www.youtube.com

Duke Ellington

For the jazz great, individual notes also have different colors—but their exact shades depend on who's playing them, not the note itself. "I hear a note by one of the fellows in the band and it's one color. I hear the same note played by someone else and it's a different color," he said. In addition to associating music with colors, he also sees sound as texture. "When I hear sustained musical tones, I see just about the same colors that you do, but I see them in textures," he added. "If Harry Carney is playing, D is dark blue burlap. If Johnny Hodges is playing, G becomes light blue satin."

Duke Ellington - Blue Feeling www.youtube.com

Tori Amos

From the sound of things, Tori Amos experiences music in a very dreamlike and psychedelic way. The singer-songwriter and piano prodigy has said that songwriting feels like chasing after light. "The song appears as light filament once I've cracked it. As long as I've been doing this, which is more than 35 years, I've never seen a duplicated song structure. I've never seen the same light creature in my life. Obviously, similar chord progressions follow similar light patterns…try to imagine the best kaleidoscope ever."

16 Shades of Blue www.youtube.com


Dev Hynes

After hearing Blood Orange's saturated, vivid sonic craftsmanship, it's not hard to believe that its creator is synesthetic. However, for Dev Hynes, synesthesia isn't a walk in the park. "Imagine color streamers just bouncing around," he explained. "It's hard for me to focus at times because there's a lot of things floating around, pulling me away. Situations can become very overbearing and overwhelming."

Blood Orange - Dark & Handsome | A COLORS SHOW www.youtube.com


Charli XCX

Synesthesia helps Charli XCX curate and shape her songs, and apparently, the pop queen favors sweeter, brighter colors. "I see music in colors. I love music that's black, pink, purple or red - but I hate music that's green, yellow or brown," she said.

Charli XCX - Silver Cross [Official Audio] www.youtube.com


Mary J. Blige

"I have that condition, synesthesia. I see music in colors. That's how my synesthesia plays out," singer, rapper, actress, and legend Mary J. Blige explained succinctly.

Mary J. Blige - Be Without You (Official Music Video) www.youtube.com


Marina Diamandis

The former star of Marina and the Diamonds (who now goes by only Marina) apparently can see sound as color, but she also associates certain colors with days of the week. Her synesthesia also sometimes causes her to associate music with scents. "Mine usually only expresses itself in color association but I do smell strange scents out of the blue for no reason," she's said.

MARINA - Orange Trees [Official Music Video] www.youtube.com


Billie Eilish and Finneas O'Connell

In Billie Eilish's technicolor universe, every sense bleeds into everything else, and things like numbers and days of the week have their own color palettes. "I think visually first with everything I do, and also I have synesthesia, so everything that I make I'm already thinking of what color it is, and what texture it is, and what day of the week it is, and what number it is, and what shape," she said in a YouTube Music video. "We both have it [she and brother, Finneas O'Connell], so we think about everything this way."

Billie Eilish - Ocean Eyes (Official Music Video) www.youtube.com

Alessia Cara

Alessia Cara thought that synesthesia was just something everybody had, until she realized not everyone could see sounds. "I didn't know that synesthesia was something that was, I guess, only a thing for some people," she said. "I thought that everybody kind of experienced it. So for me, it was just a natural pairing to my music. Everything audible was visual to me, and it still is. And so I think when I write, it's kind of cool to listen back and say, 'Well, this song feels kind of purple' — if a certain drum sound sounds purple and the song feels purple, then I know that they kind of match. It just really helps me figure out the whole package of a song." And like Kanye West, her synesthesia influences her visual content. "Even with videos — it helps me figure out what I want to do music video-wise," she added. "So it's definitely a strong aspect of my writing."

Alessia Cara - Ready (Lyric Video) www.youtube.com


Franz Liszt

Synesthesia isn't reserved for 20th and 21st century legends. Many classical musicians possessed synesthetic abilities, such as the composer Franz Liszt, who apparently used to ask orchestra members to make their tone qualities "bluer" and would say things like, "That is a deep violet, please, depend on it! Not so rose!" While orchestra members thought he was joking, they soon realized that the musician could actually see colors in the music he created.

Franz Liszt - Liebestraum - Love Dream www.youtube.com

Lizzo dazzled on her SNL debut this weekend, but fans might have noticed another source of energy and talent emanating from next to the "Truth Hurts" singer as she belted out her tunes.

That would be Celisse Henderson, who shredded on guitar as Lizzo sang.

Lizzo: Truth Hurts (Live) - SNL www.youtube.com

Henderson is a vocalist and multi-instrumentalist who is a member of the band Ghosts of the Forest. She took center stage during Lizzo's performance, adding a layer of gritty, bluesy rock to the unbelievably catchy song about getting over a man who doesn't deserve you.

Henderson styled her look and guitar after the legendary Sister Rosetta Tharpe, whose gospel and blues recordings were instrumental in shaping rock and roll. As one of the first guitarists to use distortion, she inspired many blues and rock players, and her voice and stage presence helped make her a star.

Seeing Lizzo's pristine, very 21st-century pop mixed with a tribute to one of the greatest rock and roll guitarists of all time gave scope and depth to the performance and helped make it the unforgettable showstopper that it was.

Sister Rosetta Tharpe - Up Above My Head www.youtube.com






Celisse Henderson - Stuck On You Blues | Sofar NYC www.youtube.com


Lizzo, who took to the stage covered in head-to-toe Gucci and hit stratospheric notes from start to finish, also posted a heart-warming tribute to her journey.

Between Henderson's masterful guitar playing, Lizzo's unbelievable pipes and stage presence, and the dancers that lit up the stage, it was a performance to remember.

Lizzo's sets were highlights of Eddie Murphy's star-studded, highly acclaimed, and hilarious SNL episode, which also braided tributes to icons of the past (like Gumby, dammit) with very modern humor.

Eddie Murphy Monologue - SNL www.youtube.com

CULTURE

Late Capitalism Diaries: Zola Jesus Calls Grimes the Voice of "Silicon Fascist Privilege"

Zola Jesus and Grimes are both electronic-indie artists, but they have drastically different viewpoints on the role of AI in the music industry.

Day 1939042909311112094 under late capitalism.

Grimes and fellow musician Zola Jesus have gotten in a Twitter argument about whether artificial intelligence will wind up replacing human musicians.



Grimes Argues That AI Will End Live Music

It started as most debates do—in a podcast—this one hosted by theoretical physicist Steve C. Carroll. In the interview, Grimes claimed that live music will soon be "obsolete" (she later retracted that statement, stating that "obsolete" might've been a bit extreme), but the headlines latched onto the comments, and soon enough, Zola Jesus launched a critique of the artist known as c.

Grimes & i_o - Violence (Official Video) www.youtube.com

In Jesus's defense, Grimes' comments were deeply dystopian. "Once there's actually AGI (Artificial General Intelligence), they're gonna be so much better at making art than us," she said. "Once AI can totally master science and art, which could happen in the next 10 years, probably more like 20 or 30 years."

It almost felt like she was parodying the worst kind of Instagram influencer, or one of the people in the Black Mirror episode "Nosedive." "Everyone wants to be in a simulation," she said. "They don't actually want the real world. Even if they think they do and everyone's like, 'Yeah, cool, live music!' If you actually look at actual numbers of things, everyone's gravitating towards the shimmery perfected Photoshop world."

Grimes - We Appreciate Power (Lyric Video) www.youtube.com


Zola Jesus Connects Silicon Valley to Fascism

Jesus had a lot of thoughts about Grimes' comments. "Approaching the future of music and art with so much cynicism can only come from someone who really has nothing to lose," she wrote. "Danger comes from unchecked wealth and power." Grimes, she stated, was the embodiment of "Silicon fascist privilege."

She went on to clarify what she meant by "Silicon Fascism," defining it as "the neoliberal tech takeover by privileged individuals, creating miniature oligarchic kingdoms of power that will inevitably control once-democratized systems." She then posted a long-form essay on Patreon in which she expounded on AI and Silicon Valley's disconnect from reality and parallels to fascism.

"Everyone wants to be the next Apple or Facebook. They all want a place in history by contributing to a Better Tomorrow," she wrote. "This utopian excitement for the future makes me think of Italian Futurism. Futurism was a movement in 20th century Italy that very quickly became the face of Fascism. And today, it feels like a bit of a reprise as we emphasize innovation as an inevitability."

Zola Jesus "Vessel" (Official Music Video) www.youtube.com

Jesus's argument about Silicon Valley's dominance, fascist tendencies, obsession with growth, and lack of ethics is a very valid and important point. The public is waking up to Mark Zuckerberg's chokehold on our information, but Facebook is just the tip of the iceberg. Technofascism is becoming more and more of a reality as the major tech companies gain power over worldwide industries and political elections. It's been proven that governments are using AI to commit human rights abuses, and law enforcement algorithms have been proven to display racist biases.

Yet all this feels strangely familiar. These sicknesses—human rights abuse, racism—aren't new. Perhaps they're just evolving. The truth is that despite its disturbing implications and the hegemonic nature of the companies that will control most of our AI, more often than not, AI merely reflects and magnifies preexisting human biases and flaws inherent in already fascist-leaning and capitalist states.

Zola Jesus - Exhumed (Official Music Video) www.youtube.com


A Cyborgian Possibility: The Problem With Fearing AI (But Not Humans)

While Jesus's points about Silicon Valley's fascist leanings are valid and vitally important, her arguments about the importance of "humanness" feel less solid. She throws around descriptions about "working-class people" and marginalized groups, yet seems to have an idealized view of human failure. "We all strive for success, but inevitably we all fail. And embracing those failures is what makes life so f*cking beautiful," she writes.

That's a wise and valid sentiment, but then again, it's easier to fail if you have a support system and health care—and of course under late capitalism, so many people don't have the disposable income, time, or ability to experience live music.

Many of us react adversely when we hear critiques of idealized humanness, but what is humanness, anyway? Isn't the idealization of some ideal of civilized, unnatural humanness above all other things what got us into our current mess? Certainly, Jesus wasn't arguing for civilized behavior; if anything, she was arguing for the opposite; but still, the answer can't be as simple as clinging to some abstract vision of unchecked human expression and distrust of technology as the answer to all our problems.

Zola Jesus - Seekir www.youtube.com

To argue that humans should return to a raw, analog human state located somewhere in the past is, to put it bluntly, to idealize a past wherein America was (arguably) even more homophobic and overtly racist than it is now. To over-idealize humans, with our volatile emotions and biases and tendency towards destruction, is to ignore the reality of who so many of us we have been and what civilization has always been doing, at least under the clutches of capitalism and colonialism.

That's not to say we shouldn't critique AI and the major tech companies, or that we should listen to people like Grimes who envision an AI-dominated state in the near future. It is to say that instead of blatantly resisting AI simply because it threatens old ways of life, we need to be looking closer at what kind of future we want to see.

In this spirit, many posthumanist scholars argue endlessly for a different perspective on a cyborgian future, one that blends humans and artificial intelligence in conjunction with ethics and democratic decision-making. If we can create AI that has an innate moral compass, that's helmed by diverse and compassionate leaders and elected officials, and that—most importantly—isn't built to mirror capitalism (a system designed to uplift a small few on the bodies of a disadvantaged mass, a system designed to make us pursue evolution and development at all costs), maybe then we're talking.

All this is easier said than done, and perhaps hopelessly idealistic, but you have to have some hope, right? Right? (Or is that what the basilisk wants us to think?)

Grimes - Oblivion www.youtube.com


Post/Humanism: Live Music as Resistance

At its core, Jesus's central argument is a humanist one. Human compassion and the connection that arises from live music, she seemed to be implying, must not be replaced by soulless artificial intelligence. Live music is antithetical to Silicon Valley's pristine, gilded ethos, she argues. It's true: Few things make us feel more human than live music, with all its searing emotion and audience-performer transference.

Zola Jesus - Siphon | Sofar NYC www.youtube.com

Yet as with anything in this wheelhouse, the truth (and music) is not divisible into good/evil binaries. Live music is powerful, but it is not a solution to the ravages of systemic injustice (not that anyone was implying it was), especially when it exists within a profitable system wherein artists are forced to tour relentlessly and sell tickets and merchandise for thousands of dollars. And of course, the music industry is not, and has never been, an entity that uplifts human emotion and expression above all else.

For her part, Jesus is rejecting the music industry's algorithms by supporting herself via Patreon donations, but that's also an impossibility for so many dedicated and hardworking artists.

That said, her essay and comments are brilliantly written and bring up vital points that absolutely merit continued discussion. It's all too easy for posthumanists locked up in their ivory towers to imagine futures of sublime cyborgian evolution while only analyzing ethical and emotional implications of AI in theory, so going forward, we absolutely need the kind of transparent analysis Jesus and Grimes' debate is presenting.

So, diary, I have chosen the hill I will die on today, which is: We need antitrust and regulatory policies and some seriously hard-working ethics in Silicon Valley.

Grimes - Genesis (Live on KEXP) www.youtube.com