With the final selections in our Speaking in Tongues playlistm, we play fast and loose with the most prevailing piece of wisdom from professor and media theorist Marshall Mcluhan–“The medium is the message.” As any political consultant can tell you, being all things to all people is as much about “optics” as the content. We test the notion of music as a universal language when voices and visuals seem to be at odds.
It’s not only Mayer Hawthorne’s ELO sound that’s vintage–viewers of a certain age will feel a mix of wistfulness and horror at the animatronic child entertainment possessed by pop yearning in this video for “Dreaming.”
Songs are a mnemonic language, whether that’s a first dance at a wedding or the album that you listened to during your breakup. Unlike the above, Manchester Orchestra’s “Simple Math” is about the loss of innocence and the pivotal moments that play in your head over and over again. When life flashed before your eyes, it’s not just what you see, it’s what you hear.