Monday, April 18, 2011

pop music, social mood, markets...,


Video - Cee Lo Green hit single off The LadyKiller.

TheDeflationTimes | Although there's lots of upbeat music in the air now, we can assume that after this current bear market rally, we will hear angrier music on the airwaves as the market turns down. It might be a good time, then, to pay attention to what the markets were doing the last time punk rock blasted the airwaves. Here's an excerpt from "Popular Culture and the Stock Market," which is the first chapter of Prechter's Pioneering Studies in Socionomics.

The most extreme musical development of the mid-1970s was the emergence of punk rock. The lyrics of these bands' compositions, as pointed out by Tom Landess, associate editor of The Southern Partisan, resemble T.S. Eliot's classic poem "The Waste Land," which was written during the 'teens, when the last Cycle wave IV correction was in force (a time when the worldwide negative mood allowed the communists to take power in Russia). The attendant music was as anti-.musical. (i.e., non-melodic, relying on one or two chords and two or three melody notes, screaming vocals, no vocal harmony, dissonance and noise), as were Bartok's compositions from the 1930s.

It wasn't just that the performers of punk rock would suffer a heart attack if called upon to change chords or sing more than two notes on the musical scale, it was that they made it a point to be non-musical minimalists and to create ugliness, as artists. The early punk rockers from England and Canada conveyed an even more threatening image than did the heavy metal bands because they abandoned all the trappings of theatre and presented their message as reality, preaching violence and anarchy while brandishing swastikas.

Their names (Johnny Rotten, Sid Vicious, Nazi Dog, The Damned, The Viletones, etc.) and their song titles and lyrics ("Anarchy in the U.K.," "Auschwitz Jerk," "The Blitzkrieg Bop," "You say you've solved all our problems? You're the problem! You're the problem!" and "There's no future! no future! no future!") were reactionary lashings out at the stultifying welfare statism of England and their doom to life on the dole, similar to the Nazis backlash answer to a situation of unrest in 1920s and 1930s Germany.

Actually, of course, it didn't matter what conditions were attacked. The most negative mood since the 1930s (as implied by stock market action) required release, period. These bands took bad-natured sentiment to the same extreme that the pop groups of the mid-1960s had taken good-natured sentiment. The public at that time felt joy, benevolence, fearlessness and love, and they demanded it on the airwaves. The public in the late 1970s felt misery, anger, fear and hate, and they got exactly what they wanted to hear. (Luckily, the hate that punk rockers. reflected was not institutionalized, but then, this was only a Cycle wave low, not a Supercycle wave low as in 1932.)

In summary, an "I feel good and I love you" sentiment in music paralleled a bull market in stocks, while an amorphous, euphoric "Oh, wow, I feel great and I love everybody" sentiment (such as in the late '60s) was a major sell signal for mood and therefore for stocks. Conversely, an "I'm depressed and I hate you" sentiment in music reflected a bear market, while an amorphous tortured "Aargh! I'm in agony and I hate everybody" sentiment (such as in the late '70s) was a major buy signal.