Snap Judgment: Gnarls Barkley, backwards!

I love the way music sounds when it’s played backwards. Such a simple change, really, but it makes even the most ordinary tune seem so beautifully alien — like looking in the mirror and seeing a Martian staring back. So I was pretty psyched to see (via Idolator) that Gnarls Barkley is giving away a backwards file of their just-released The Odd Couple for free online. On first listen, I’m finding no hidden Satanic messages to speak of, but plenty of gorgeously trippy ear candy. I’m this close to declaring Elpuoc Ddo Eht better than the (very good) original album — more mind-blowingly strange, at least. It’d be great if this inspired more bands to follow suit immediately, if only for the weirdos like me who adore this kind of stuff.

What are you waiting for? Run (backwards) on over to and check it out for yourself! And in the meantime, after the jump, a few of my very favorite songs that use backmasked sounds. Anything else I’m missing?

Radiohead’s "Like Spinning Plates" (based on a reversed version of "I Will")

The Beatles’ "Rain" (wait for the coda)

The Fiery Furnaces’ "Tropical Ice-Land" (check out the final verse; also worth seeking out, though it’s not on YouTube, is their masterful "Black-Hearted Boy")

Missy Elliott’s "Work It" (that hook!)

Comments (8 total) Add your comment
  • ChrisChicago

    I completely agree with your choice of The Fiery Furnaces…Black-Hearted Boy really is a great song!

  • Devin

    I figured Missy was going to show up here.

  • Robert

    What the heck is Missy saying? I’ve always wanted to know but couldn’t figure it out.

  • klc

    One of Missy’s backwards lines is: “I put my thing down flip it and reverse it.”

  • Dinosaur

    “Fire on High” from ELO had something about “Turn back” and “The music is reversible” in it. Kind of a nyah-nyah to the backwards masking controversy in the mid-70’s.

  • Rich

    No one’s mentioned the backwards coda of “Darling Nikki” yet?? Prince’s genius at work yet again. No one else would think to end a raunchy sex song with backwards lyrics about how “The Lord is coming soon”…

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