Conscious Versus Unconscious Music


While carefully selecting the latest tracks for your newest playlist one rarely thinks to sort by ‘conscious’ versus ‘unconscious’ music. These are not typical terms related to sound. Yet the power of lyrics and artistic expression via a song in shifting a mood, invoking a feeling or even reminiscing a memory is undeniable. Music is healing, freeing and directly effects the neurotransmitters in your brain. Listening to music literally releases the same brain chemicals that drugs, alcohol, sex and food do. It is a scientifically proven powerful method of triggering a response in the brain.

Yet, just as lyrics can move you to a place of openness and expand your mind and heart in ways you couldn’t have imagined, it can also shut you down and close you off or leave you feeling negative about the current state of the world or your life. Similar to how a conversation with a negative person can effect or alter your state of being, a so-called ‘unconscious’ song could also negatively effect your mental energy.

Over the past few years a rising number of artists are producing more socially conscious lyrics highlighting important social issues in a way that does not amplify the negativity underlying or breed additional layers of negative energy. Spiritually conscious artists and d’j’s are equally on the rise producing music with a focus on enlightening minds and raising the collective vibration. Festivals all over the globe are focused on elevating consciousness and generating ‘positive vibes only’.

I am constantly searching for new, indie artists and music genres as modern technology is consistently swaying the boat and opening new windows into sound technology. These new genre hybrids are the true future of sound. A new category I stumbled upon recently was that of “conscious pop”.

Christy Vaughan is an artist dedicated to carving out a niche genre in popular music known as ‘spiritual’ or ‘conscious’ pop. Artistically known as RENAE (literally meaning ‘reborn’ in French) Christy has a debut record released with the intention of ‘lyrically and sonically balancing each chakra’. This is not simply producing tracks with positive, happy making lyrics. The songs are apparently ‘written in each chakra’s ‘musical key’’ in an effort to evoke a true mind-body connection-and appears entirely innovative. According to Christy, ‘This is the first of its kind — bridging the gap between pop music and spiritual wellness!’

“Music is such a powerful tool as it speaks directly to our souls and bodies, transcending the intellectual boundaries that so often divide us.”

Spiritually conscious music may not solely be found at heady festivals like burning man anymore. It appears more and more mainstream artists are becoming ‘woke’ and aiming to create conscious music.

Even Katy Perry has claimed the label of ‘conscious’. She recently changed her twitter bio to read "Artist. Activist. Conscious."

“It’s about letting the music move you into alignment with who you really are; to sooth your wounds, to inspire you into a higher consciousness and to positively affect the world around you.”


Cover art by Tokio Aoyama