Essay on LSD's Everlasting Impact of the 1960s

Submitted By raularias95
Words: 1259
Pages: 6

Lysergic acid diethylamide, otherwise known as LSD, became a popular gateway drug entering the 1960s. Its popularity came mainly from youths who were looking for a way to escape the oppression forced by the government. LSD gives rise to a radical twist in the presentation of musical elements, adding a psychedelic appeal to songs. The structure of Happy Trails by Quicksilver Messenger Service (QMS) portrays technical notes that depict the descension and ascension of the song’s intensity by the use of the drums, guitar, and bass. QMS’s lengthy, hypnotizing, song goes beyond conventional musical elements to convey an audio embodiment of the rise and eventual demise of LSD usage in the 1960s and its associated countercultural psychedelic effects. The beginning, “Who Do You Love Pt. 1,” starts strong with an upbeat tempo and unusual guitar characteristics that represent the rise of LSD in the early 1960s and its implications. The first twenty seconds into the song are slow and feature drawn out guitar notes, but eventually the beat picks up and the guitar starts jamming [0:00 - 0:25]. The delayed but short startup signifies the introduction of LSD in the late 1950s and its quick rise in popularity at the turn of the decade. Thereafter, the guitar’s nature is multiplied many times with aggressive tones, note bending, and plucking [0:20 - 3:32]. Towards the end of “Who Do You Love Pt. 1,” the guitar notes bend through the use of a wah wah pedal [3:00-3:30]. This style of playing is referred as dynamization as the guitar breaks away from the traditional, crisp, and soothing way it is meant to be played. These dynamic guitar effects are representative of the transformation and breakdown of mental awareness an individual would experience once they are on LSD. This type of guitar playing at the time was unconventional, but it set the tone for the obscure sounds and rhythms that resonate throughout the rest of the song. As the song progresses with a cacophony of inconsistent beats and spontaneous guitar playing, a group experience amongst youth with countercultural ideas surfaces. In part two, “When Do You Love,” the bass and guitar play inconsistently and increase in tone incrementally, making it difficult to predict which note will be played next [3:35-5:00]. For instance, the guitar briefly maintains a consistent rhythm for twenty seconds and then abruptly transitions into a new rhythm [6:24 -6:55]. This sense of nonconformity is known as depersonalization, numbing the audience to regularity and entrancing them within their surroundings. The use of LSD leads individuals to lose a sense of themselves and the mental bridge merges between consciousness and unconsciousness. Therefore, the blending of inconsistent beats and spontaneous riffs from the guitar and bass can relate to the congregation of individuals experiencing this psychedelic effect. People, especially youth, that underwent depersonalization through LSD made themselves part of this larger community to advocate for a society free of discrimination. Approaching midpoint, the song mellows out with desynchronized tones and slow tempos which equate to the “tripping” and countercultural representation brought by the use of LSD. In the third part, “Where Do You Love,” the instruments are disregarding one another, each playing their own notes to create distinct droning effects [8:47 - 13:40]. The echoing effect from the guitar makes it seem as the space being played is far away when this is not the case [12:00 - 13:10]. In fact, the actual distance between the instruments is not representative of the enormous interior space that is recreated through the musical effects. The cyclical repetition and intensity of the drums are guided by the magnitude of the guitars and bass [8:47 - 10:00]. Although the drums’ backbeat remains consistent, it does not try to synchronize with the irregular beats of the guitar. The drums represent society and the guitars and bass are the youth