We’ve all heard the tale. It’s been spread memetically for years: I’ve seen it referenced on television, heard it buzz around the college campus, read it in publications. If you start Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon” album at the third roar of the MGM Lion on Wizard of Oz, you will witness amazing synchronicity.
I decided to put this to the test myself.
Melissa kind of rolled her eyes at me when I told her what I wanted to do. We’re both pretty skeptical about things, but I thought it would be fun to try. Besides, in the worst case scenario, I waste 43 minutes of my life by listening to “Dark Side of the Moon” which is HARDLY a waste by my standards. I found “The Wizard of Oz” at the library yesterday while picking up some movies and returning some books.
My expectations at this point were pretty minimal. Rationally, I know that the band has repeatedly denied intending for any synchronicity. I know that this reeks an awful lot like a “cold read” that alleged psychics use (the kind where most of the magic happens because they expect you to draw the necessary conclusions).
At the same time, I secretly hoped to witness some kind of bizarre and totally unlikely scenario where the two perfectly synched up. I envisioned the album becoming as transparent as an actual soundtrack.
Before you read my own reactions, why don’t you watch it yourself on google video. It’s 43 minutes long and is pre-synched for you so all you need to do is watch.
Ok, first off, I have to say that I had forgotten how good “Dark Side of the Moon” is. The experience was definitely worth getting to just kick back and listen to Roger Waters, David Gilmour et al jam out.
Was there any synchronicity? Lyrically, there were a few coincidences. “Balancing on a wave” is sung right as Dorothy is balancing on the pig-pen fence. “Black….and Blue…” is sung just as the Wicked Witch of the West appears in munchkin land. “Lunatic is on the grass” is sung just as the Scarecrow starts dancing on the yellowbrick road. I think I heard something about “magic spell” during the scene with “The Marvel” fortuneteller in the beginning scenes.
Musically, there were a lot more surprising synchronicities. Many of the songs began right at transitional moments. By far, these coincidences were a lot more piquing than the lyrical ones. My rational mind immediately dismissed it as simply being a mere coincidence; A product of artistic timing (perhaps mixed with a little golden ratio proportioning). Nevertheless, it was pretty cool. When Dorothy opens the door to munchkin land (in TECHNICOLOR), the song “Money” begins. Some of the overall tones change at dramatic moments. You have to really see it to see what I mean.
There’s no true synchronicity. You would probably have just as much luck playing any other psychadelic album while watching this movie. Try watching this movie while listening to “Shine on You Crazy Diamonds” or “The Wall”. The psychadelic aspect is important because that genre tends to do a lot more blending of the songs. (You could conceivably do it with an electronic album, I suppose. We used to do that with the Fantasia movies).
Bottom line, it’s a cold-reading phenomena. We WANT to see the coincidences and the connections. It’s our natural tendency towards making the world make sense. With this particular music-movie combo, there were far more moments where the movie and music WEREN’T totally synched up (like during guitar solos, for example, and we all know how long those are!) than there were parts that DID synch. The lyrical coincidences are bogus. You could probably play a 2-Pac or The White Stripes album and find similar coincidences.
The Dark side of Oz is said to be far more significant than it really is, which in my experience is pretty typical of stoners.
Even so, you should check it out and see for yourself. Let me know your thoughts. Like I said before, spending 43 minutes of your time to listen to this Pink Floyd album is never a waste of time.