Consequence of Sounds

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Hey everyone,

i was wondering what thoughts or interpretations you had on "Consequence of Sounds"

i'm writing a paper on it and i was having trouble deciphering these lines

The weather report keeps on

Tossing and turning,

Predicting and warning,

And warning and warning of,

Possible leakage from news publications and,

Possible leakage from news TV stations.

That very same morning right next to her coffee

She noticed some bleeding and heard hollow coughing and

National Geographic was being too graphic,

When all she had wanted to know was the traffic

"The worlds got a nosebleed" it said

"And we're flooding but we keep on cutting

The trees and the forests!"

And we keep on paying those freaks on the TV,

Who claim they will save us but want to enslave us.

And sweating like demons they scream through our speakers

But we leave the sound on 'cause silence is harder.

And no one's the killer and no one's the martyr

The world that has made us can no longer contain us

And profits are silent then rotting away 'cause


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this song is one of my earliest regina loves, such a soft spot i've got for it!

I always took this portion of the song to be about the mania that exists in our culture, how upsetting and stiffling it can be for us as individuals who want to live free from worry and other toxic emotions. The mania takes many different forms: on TV it's on the news, it's on the weather channel, it's on Nat Geo: all about being afraid, about how the human race is doomed and hopeless. It's all our own fault: we've caused global warming, and we're going to go extinct, and so on. Always warning, predicting the inevitability of some doomsday.

The part about "she noticed some bleeding and heard hollow coughing," I go back and forth about whether she's the one coughing and is having an out-of-body experience, if she's coughing and not having an out of body experience, or if the cough is from another person. I don't think it matters, though. In her real life, as she's just starting her day and trying to get oriented, she's made aware of suffering and dischord not on TV, but in real life, whether she's coughing or someone else is. It's a real person, who's really hurting. I think from the wording, the bleeding is definitely hers, though that's probably debatable.

Still, the words "some bleeding" after the "possible leakage" imply, for me, a link between the mania encouraged by the media and the actual bleeding, as though the "possible leakage" were the leakage of blood. This has many implications: the actual suffering due to the responses to the mania, the blood as people being injured due to the things that are being reported by the news, like soldiers being shot, or survivors of natural disasters being injured. I don't know, that is ripe with possibility, and i'm sure it'd be a waste of space for me to point out all the examples i can think of! There are more than i could imagine, and probably it's a more abstract connection, not to be tied down to a specific concrete application.

I think those themes sum up this entire portion of the verse. The last part, though changes gears a bit:

"we keep on paying those freaks on the tv

who claim they will save us

but want to enslave us"

This refers to the newscasters and everyone else contributing to the manic state of panic and fear: they perpetuate these emotions under the guise of being helpful and informative in order to empower the viewers. But the actual result is enslavement, because the people who respond to their mania can't help but be stiffled, fearful, and thus unable to live freely.

"and sweating like demons

they scream through our speakers

but we leave the sound on cause silence is harder."

Again, they are maniacs. This time it's pointed out to highlight the fact that we allow them to be maniacs at us, rather than tuning them out. I take "silence is harder" to mean that people need to be informed about the world around them, and even though the TV is "screaming" at us, it's offering the delusion of information. Really, it's not informing, but inciting fear, etc. (according to my take on the narrator's opinion in the song, i'm not stating my personal opinion on the matter of news media!) The alternative is "silence" in the sense of feeling disconnected from the world, or a fear that we're missing out on information without exposing ourselves to the "screaming."

"No one's the killer and no one's the martyr"

this gives a sense of helplessness when facing the question, "so what do you think we should do? Just not report the news?" and how the state of the media is no one person's fault.

"the world that has made us

can no longer contain us"

I flip-flop back and forth on this one. Sometimes i think the "us" is anyone who resists the "sounds," the "screaming," the mania. Other times i think it's the maniacs speaking. In the end, though, i don't think that this part is changing narrative voice at all, and instead the "us" is humanity. However the humans have come to live here on planet earth, we've outgrown it, in a sense: reeling up against that initial state of growing and health/harmony. We're facing problems that seem too big for our own existence.

"and prophets are silent and rotting away"

This means that no one is speaking out against this new, widespread mania. Those who do are rotting as though they are outdated, maybe dead. Certainly this line points out their lack of influence on popular thought.

That's just my two cents! :)

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We leave the sound on because Silence is harder is one of my favorite lines from any song ever. We want to be slaves because to be our own master is terrifying; one can't even open a newspaper without being overwhelmed and we cough/ we are affected by everything in that newspaper. We cannot be separate from the world or we will become sicker. 

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I love this song so much!!! I love how it talks about silence. In a world, and especially a country, as busy and ambitious as ours, it is so important to take a few minutes to sit in silence and reflect on important issues like propaganda and environmental issues. It is also extremely important to reflect on the issues going on in our personal lives. This is a very hard thing to do in a world filled with constant stimulation, especially through sound. I especially love the line:

"...but we keep the sound on cause silence is harder. No one's the killer and no one's the martyr..."

Silence is harder. Nobody wakes up and is like, I'm excited to reflect on depressing issues. It is so much easier to ignore our troubles, but they can only get better if we acknowledge them and stand up to them.

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