Forwards Backwards Songs

As a musical exercise, I’ve been experimenting with taking standard, famous songs and arranging a backwards version as a forward song (“backwards forwards” for short). I don’t use the original recording in any way, only part of the musical arrangement. The result is usually something that (naturally) has weird overtones of the original song, but also is a unique song in its own right.

My first effort was at tune called My Sweet Satan, an instrumental backwards forwards version of Stairway to Heaven by Led Zeppelin. The title is a play off of the famous backmasking fiasco that followed the song through its heyday and beyond. The haunting refrain of “my sweet Satan” can apparently be heard in verse five (somewhere around “There’s still time to change the road you’re on”). However, if you listen, it is clearly a combination of audio pareidolia and straightforward phonetic reversal rather than active backmasking. One can, of course, carefully craft forwards lyrics that do have phonetic reversals that sound like actual messages when played backwards. But Robert Plant’s lyric clearly isn’t that. I’ve tried doing such constructions myself and, with a specific backwards message in mind, you certainly don’t get anything nearly as coherent as the lyrics to Stairway (and that’s saying something).

Another effort is called But You Can Never Leave. Can you guess which backwards forward song it might be? A hint is that it is a song known (apocryphally) for having a backmasked message. The biggest clue is in the title.

If you like what you hear, take a look at my latest album called Pretty Blue Glow by Agapanthus and consider purchasing it (or parts you like). You can also find many of my tunes on Sutros under Agapanthus for free.