Writing Playlist

The Welsh have an interesting word, hiraeth, which is meant to express homesickness, especially for a home that either cannot be returned to or does not exist. This word best expresses the type of songs that I seek out in order to grow my writing playlist–a collection of songs that (subjectively) amplify, rather than disturb, the creative process. Unsurprisingly, these songs typically gravitate to archetypal or Hero’s Journey themes. Their lyrics are engaging but utterly unsurprising, like the dialogue of dreams. And their melodies are often haunting enough to seem more at home about an ancient campfire or cathedral or battlefield than radio waves. Finally, they frequently follow classical music’s structural penchant for crescendo rather than the rinse-repeat of verse and chorus. Here are a few samples below, hopefully to inspire you in making your own writer’s playlist.

 

Disturbing Symbolism in Recent Music Videos

I am not inherently against such symbolism, but I do find it distasteful when it turns up in unexpected places such as pop music aimed at young audiences. My belief is that symbolism of a sinister nature ought to either be 1. juxtaposed with divine symbolism or 2. explained, unabashedly, as being such. Failing to do either gives the sense that one is using ‘harmless’ entertainment as a Trojan Horse.

Billie Eilish – You Should See Me in A Crown

1:09-1:23: The character, ostensibly Billie, is surrounded by seven levitating beings with mannequin-like white faces, each dressed with differing color-schemes. She approaches the one in black with a red human/spider sigil on its back and invokes it.

1:35-end: Each step she takes is now accompanied by the appearance of spiderwebs at her feet. At 1:57 we learn why–the true form of the being she invoked is a monstrous spider that vomits upon a city, turning its green human sigils into its own red human/spider sigils.

The nondescript white mask is generally angelic, be it loyal or fallen angels.

Seven angels appearing together is evocative of the Seven Princes of Hell. They are given differing names in different sources. The oldest source, The Book of Enoch, uses unfamiliar names. Later Catholic and occult sources, usually based upon the Seven Deadly Sins, use more familiar names like Satan and Mammon. Therein, the demon ascribed to Lust is called Asmodeus.

Asmodeus appears in the apocryphal Book of Tobit, not–to my recollection–as a spider. However, Alan Moore in his comic series Promethea depicts Asmodeus as a giant black spider with a red sigil on its back. Whether Billie’s music video is borrowing from Promethea, or if Billie and Alan were separately inspired by the same third-party source, I cannot say.

This music video was particularly surprising to me since I used both of its symbols–The Seven Princes and Asmodeus as a spider–in my Deus Non Machina (2017). That is coincidence, obviously.

Blackpink – Kill This Love

The symbolism of this music video is almost too frantic to timestamp, so I’ll just address it somewhat chronologically.

The silver organ that plays trumpets sets a gothic, apocalyptic tone.

The swans and setting sun betwixt a crowned woman evoke–for me at least–Zeus’s rape of Leda which produces Helen of Troy. The crystal heart which eventually breaks could be a derivative of the treasure-fruit which Paris of Troy gives to Helen.

Another girl frolics in a candy-store labelled “Heaven.” Most of its wares are breakfast cereal. While a slight stretch, this could be a nod to Ambrosia, the drink of the gods that grants immortality. I base this upon a few intimations by Soyer’s Pantropheon that ancient Greek “cereal” can mean either dried grains (food) or fermented grains (drink). If that is accurate, she is a female Prometheus, stealing earthly power from spiritual beings.

The swans are gone and it is dark, but the sun is still setting. Helen/Venus rises out of the ocean wearing a swirled crown like an unstable halo.

The car’s front plate reads “Ego.” (For me, this scene evokes the one Zodiac Killer victim who lived to tell the tale. He picked her up by a roadside after her car had broken down. When he threatened her she jumped out and ran). Since she is both killer and killed, this appears to be metaphoric of ego-death or enlightenment. But why, in that case, would the “Ego” vehicle do the killing? A confusion–or a corruption.

All the girls are now dressed as thieves who’ve blown open a vault.

In the clothing/selfie scene, our Korean singers look morbidly Americanized, the idea being that they are now blonde and brunette white girls instead of Asians.

She holds a four leaf clover as the sun sets and turns into a storm. This is boasting of luck during catastrophe.

A bride in white is killed by whore in black in a Gothic church with a flaming arrow. This sounds familiar but I cannot recall the source at the moment.

The band stands upon a giant beartrap in a desert. Not many bears to be found in deserts. Deserts are, however, the most appropriate backdrop for ritual sacrifice.

Back to the silver organ. A party in a church, lit red like a brothel.

This music video’s symbolism could merely be a product of over-budgeting by infamous KPop corporations (and/or a set designer with years of ideas and only one opportunity to actualize them). However, it strikes me as slightly odd that not a single Eastern-centric symbol managed to appear herein. The West is either being heavily pandered to here, or there is an unstated motivation.

What do you think?