Thursday, January 5, 2012

Turntables: The New Stone Tablets

While driving down the road to Wal-Mart yesterday, we were listening to Taio Cruz’s Dynamite song and my 9YO says to me:

“Wouldn’t it be cool if you could play the song backwards and there was a secret code in it?”

A question that spans the generations.

I remember as a kid hearing how certain songs held a secret message if you would only play their record backward on the turntable.

A few definitions:

  • Record – big circular piece of thick black vinyl with grooves cut into it that were “read” by a needle on an arm that was also attached to a set of speakers.  Said grooves resulted in a grainy musical experience not able to be replicated by today’s new fanagled CDs or digital downloads. 

  • Turntable – a large piece of equipment with the equivalent of a lazy Susan for mechanically turning said records. 

I had an old turntable that was part of a stereo that had belonged to my aunt and uncle.  It also had an 8-track player, which we're not even going to get into...  I had a few 33s (size of a record), including Michael Jackson and Van Halen.  I remember hearing about songs that could be played backwards on the turntable and said things like 666 or Kill Your Parents and believed them to be straight from Satan.  Reportedly one was by Ozzy Osborne, who was going through his blood drinking phase.  I thought if I even listened to one the right way, I would probably immediately become a Devil Worshipper (a horrendous fear of my youth) or at least be permanently warped. 

I think I tried to see if Michael Jackson had embedded any secret messages that I could unlock by spinning the turntable counterclockwise with my hand, but alas Billie Jean and Thriller always sounded better the right way. 

Nevertheless, my question for you today is:  With all our high tech gadgetry out there today, could a song still be played backwards?

When I hit the rewind (probably another outdated term) on my CD player, it merely skips back to the sound one second ago and then plays on.  I don’t believe it is truly playing the song backwards.  Plus, I am unaware (of probably a lot of things) of any way to truly slow down the backward playing of a song so that you could actually understand syllables to decode any secret message. 

Is this a part of my childhood that has been rendered obsolete?

Is this a path into the dark side that has been closed by technology?

Will my children ever have the opportunity to change the needle on an old turntable?   

Is this blog really being written by a cavewoman on a stone tablet?

I'm beginning to think so! 


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