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Neuroethics Playlist 3

Image courtesy of Pixabay
The Neuroethics Blog has put together our third neuroethics playlist: a collection of songs related to neuroethics, neuroscience, the brain, and the mind. We would like thank our readers and our Facebook followers for their song suggestions!

Listen on Spotify

You can find the first two playlists here.

About the Songs

This song tells people to think for themselves and not just accept what they’re told, even if they are young and thought to be immature. Because no matter what, we all still have brains (which are made up of grey matter and white matter) and should use them.

This song is from the perspective of someone who has been diagnosed with delusions, but to him, the “shadows” he sees seem real. It illustrates how those with psychosis can have trouble telling their delusions and hallucinations apart from reality. It’s also possible that the shadows are metaphorical representations of troubles in his life.

This song, from The Dark Side of the Moon album, is about people who are considered “lunatics” and was inspired by the mental breakdown of former Pink Floyd member Syd Barrett. The song has been the subject of academic writing, including a paper in Academic Medicine and analysis by philosopher and media theorist Friedrich Kittler.

The former Black Sabbath members wrote this song about getting “high” from dopamine. And, in fact, the things that get us high, whether they are drugs or experiences, are accompanied by a release of dopamine in the brain.

Image Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
This lyric-less piece was composed for the Blade Runner soundtrack, though it did not appear in the film. The character Rachel is one of the “replicants:” sentient, realistic androids created to be workers and entertainers but not given the same rights as humans. Unlike other replicants, Rachel believes she is human, and this song might have been intended to accompany the scenes of her beginning to expect her true identity.

In this angsty song, the singer rants about his friends and family who wrongly assume he’s mentally troubled or using drugs. It presents a popular, skeptical view of mainstream psychiatric treatment. The music video shows parents turning their teenage son’s bedroom into a stereotypical asylum cell with padded walls and bars on the windows and putting him in a straitjacket. A re-recorded version changes the last line from “It doesn’t matter, I’ll probably get hit by a car anyway” to “It doesn’t matter, the insurance money’s about to run out anyhow.”

CeeLo Green of Gnarls Barkley sings about being depressed and contemplating suicide. He explained that he hopes the song would be “therapeutic” to people who are experiencing similar problems.

This song is about someone who feels like they lost their memories and sense of self after being betrayed by a friend. The lyrics are part of an ongoing story spanning three of the electronic music group’s albums.

The title and chorus of this hip-hop song come from L.A. slang terms for being reckless and aggressive. See here for a surprisingly in-depth neurophilosophical analysis of the song.

The vocals to this song were supposedly written and recorded in under an hour by the band’s lead singer when she was still in high school. They offer to give you “something for your mind.”

Elvis Costello based this hit song, about an elderly woman experiencing memory loss and dementia, on his grandmother’s struggle with Alzheimer’s disease.

Cypress Hill

Image Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
Though it might not be commonly known, this song was written about the Cold War. Ozzy Osbourne thought that it was a “crazy” time full of hostility, fear, paranoia, and propaganda.

In this song, a man who has spent his life having to suppress his emotions tells his doctor that he is worried about never being able to feel again.

The backwards vocals and disjointed, glitchy music in this song mirror the mental state of the protagonist who pleads insanity during a trial and is ordered to undergo electroshock therapy.

The lyrics of this song were inspired by the strong community in the town of Slab Fork, West Vigrinia where Bill Withers grew up. They describe how people need to help and support each other during tough times and “sorrow.” It has regained popularity during various crises (including the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic) and has also been used by protests movements.

Want to cite this post?

Queen, J. (2020). Neuroethics Playlist 3. The Neuroethics Blog. Retrieved on , from


  1. Peter B. Reiner July 14, 2020 at 1:49 PM

    These playlists are a great addition to the Neuroethics Blog. I would suggest the addition of David Wilcox' song "Chet Baker's Unsung Swan Song" which is not just a beautiful song, but also begins with this uber neuroethics-like stanza

    My old addiction
    Changed the wiring in my brain
    So that when it turns the switches
    Then I am not the same


  2. Thank you! That's a good one.


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