This post is 26 of 30 in a series about songs that mean a lot to me. The rest of the posts are here, and here’s a Spotify playlist of the songs

Note: Today’s song contains some language that may be offensive to some. 

I can only imagine what the early inventors of the internet dreamed of for the future of their creation. An enlightened age. Free access to information. We’ve had this thing for about 25 years now and our reality is hardly the digital utopia those innovators might have dreamt of.

The world is very much like the futuristic dystopia that Radiohead warned of in OK Computer; 20 years ago. There’s so much noise.

I have a very passionate love/hate relationship with Twitter. I enjoy knowing that anytime I look at my feed, I will know what’s happening in the world with a 2-minute margin of error. The free dissemination of information means that current events are available to us in a matter of seconds. The problem with a free, open digital platform like this also means that any doofus with a half-baked opinion can fire off their hot take without so much as 10 seconds of thoughtful consideration.

// You got a semi-automatic mouth //

 

What the internet has created is a culture that rewards the fastest, wittiest, most snarky reaction. Not the best reaction, but the most entertaining reaction. The reaction that will draw cheers from the crowds, not discourse. One of my favorite conversations goes as follows: in which year would it be easier to control a population, 1942 or 2017? I think a strong case could be made for either option.

Media outlets make no attempt to shield their biases. They pump their content full of bias, knowing that their target markets will consume it with abandon. Their bias creates a dependency; those consuming it will soon come to reject any information that runs counter to it.

They’ll perpetuate their addiction in social media posts.

That’s what the track Loud(ly) is a reaction to. The signal to noise ratio has grown to an intolerable level. The singer is simply begging for some relief from incessant need of those with strong opinions to voice them.

// You love to feel offended // Fighting from your computer trenches //

 

This song has stuck with me because what the singer describes here is a pattern of humans that has always confused me. Why does it seem like some people actually like being offended? When the object of their contempt behaves just exactly as they expected them to, it’s as if their brains reward them with a swift dose of serotonin.

// Protesting in your paper crown //

 

I’ve been reading more and more recently about the merits of completely opting out of social media. No more hot takes, no more New York Times headlines every Trump tweets. This idea has grown more and more attractive to me as the internet has become more outspoken and polarizing. As Radiohead pled in Paranoid Android, “Please could you stop the noise”.

 

Leave a Reply