Posted on December 20, 2018
by Steve Janowick

The musical mind-trip.

Once a staple in the repertoire of some of the biggest groups of the 60’s and 70’s, the psychedelic song provided many a young man the chance to go places in his head-without any assistance.  Cough…Wink. Of course, many would argue that the song and the “assistance” go hand and hand. Each enhances the other. But I certainly wouldn’t know anything about that.

What I do know is that many young people today are missing out on one of the greatest genres of music-ever.  Not only intellectually stimulating, the psychedelic song allowed the listener a sense of escapism like no other.  He could fly in his own spaceship to the stars. He could conjure up fantastical imagery and symbolism. He could reflect and meditate.

Drop the needle on the first song of side two off of Pink Floyd’s 1971 album Meddle and you’ll understand what I’m talking about.  Widely considered the innovators and arbiters of the genre, Floyd’s use of experimentation, eclectic arrangements and conceptual themes translated into music that took listeners on a true sonic journey.  And they, along with bands like King Crimson, Yes and Rush, expanded that mind-trip into new realms by fusing more complex instrumentations, and even visuals, into their studio recordings and live shows.

It was truly an all-encompassing cerebral experience.

I remember as a small kid the dudes that were heavy into this genre usually weren’t killing it on the sports fields, but they sure as hell were killing it in the classrooms.  They were the deep thinkers, not the athletes, and the heady music they were listening to fostered that rumination and academic success. And today, many of them are cashing mega-checks inventing apps or running companies.

I try to contemplate if there’s anything comparable today.  Do the teenagers in 2018 have any musical outlet that nurtures and feeds the intellect like psychedelic music did for their parents?  I would argue that there’s certainly not many current options that are viable. If you say Hip Hop or EDM, Country or Rock, then you don’t even deserve a voice in the conversation.  Those styles, although entertaining, are definitely not increasing any SAT scores anytime soon.

But what the kids today do have is an insanely huge and awesome back catalogue to tap into.  And many do just that. As long as there are introverted, brainiac kids looking to feed their heads, psychedelic music will always be around-with or without the assistance

But I still wouldn’t know anything about that.

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