Escaping Reality and Illusion of Music

Jack Taylor

Music is one of the most diverse and creative forms of artistic media due to its endless variety of styles, genres and talented musicians. However, people often look deeper into music in an attempt to escape the boredom of modern society. Intrigued by this idea, I created two rival playlists focusing on the themes of both Reality and Illusion to see how others perceive music and use it to escape reality.  

The reality playlist took longer to fill than the illusion playlist however, the playlist carried a consistent theme of rock/pop music often combining instrumental elements with vocals to convey a tone of realism. After reviewing the playlist, there were two songs which stuck out to me due to how well they perceived the idea of reality: 

Ticket to the Moon:  

Ticket to the Moon by Electric Light Orchestra (ELO), from the album Time produced in 1981 particularly showcases ideas of reality through the use of lyrics which bring the listener into the futuristic reality spoken about in the song. The lyrics are used by ELO as a means to show their thoughts on what the near future could look like from the perspective of the 1980s.  

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Lust for Life: 

Lust for Life by Iggy Pop, produced in 1977, is possibly one of the most realistic songs on the playlist and was taken directly from the soundtrack to Danny Boyle’s Trainspotting in 1996. This older piece of music immediately creates this unique poverty struck world for the listener and is constantly building on ideas of reality through harsh drumbeats and creative use of the lyric.  

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To contrast, the illusion playlist featured a much broader genre of music ranging from indie to electronic dance music. The music on the playlist also contrasts with itself due to this much wider range of genre which supports the ideas that different music helps different people escape reality. Similar to the reality playlist, some songs truly represented the ideas of illusion and helped me escape from reality: 

Verdis Quo: 

Taken from Daft Punk’s second album Discovery released in 2001, Verdis Quo approaches the electronic music genre in a creative and innovative new way combining elements of classical music with modern technology. For me, the whole song screams ideas of illusion and often helps me escape from reality through its calming tune that develops as the piece goes on.  

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Smile: 

This rendition of Charlie Chaplin’s Smile came from the Joker (Todd Phillips, 2019) soundtrack and encourages the audience to put on a happy face; when in reality they are trying to escape their own problems with the world. This song also fits with the character of the Joker and the macabre illusions portrayed throughout the film.  

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To conclude, the playlists showcased that music can influence and help many people escape their mundane lives and explore a whole new world of escapism.  

Find both playlists on Spotify now:

Words: Jack Taylor, Storehouse Content Team, @areajack_

Illustrations: Asha Wilson, Storehouse Content Team, @that_there_asha

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