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Music is a ritual, a repetitive series of actions carried out by a populace that can’t even remember the origins of our obsession with sonic ephemera. Songs with words are flotsam in the stream of our cultural consciousness, and as the broken mirror insanity of our post-post-post-post-post-modern sense of self rolls deep into this new-ish millennium, our popular music spits out shards of nonsense with ever-more-slippery edges. Fear and alienation, cynicism and self-hatred: the hard shell that we all wear to make it through this world, both the real kind and the Internet one that we increasingly spend our time in, only lets in certain messages and slogans. Our music tricks us into thinking that its voice is coming from within us rather than the truth, that we are bombarded by outside forces at all times: advertising masquerading as our deepest thoughts, soundbites nudging us towards fascism disguised as our romantic fantasies, voices detached from bodies invading our minds until we relent, the sweet surrender that so many popular songs are about. As another year comes to a close, we can sigh peacefully, briefly, and imagine a world where silence is granted, for however short a time, by our benevolent overlords. Until then, here are ten pieces of propaganda that were most effective in promulgating mind control in ways occasionally pleasing:

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