The Rise of Dissociation Music

In Pitchfork by Jayson Greene.

Graphic by Marina Kozak (Photos via Getty Images)

“From indie rock to SoundCloud rap, artists are combating the hell of modern existence with blank detachment in their voices.”

  • The cultural critic Rayne Fisher-Quann, who coined the term, also gave a name to the larger aesthetic—“lobotomy-chic”—and trawling TikTok or Twitter you can find countless riffs on the idea, from fake Claire’s ads advertising “self-care” lobotomies to Doomer memes about the hopelessness of escaping late capitalism. Lack of affect is the new affect.
  • The approach reminds me of the BuzzFeed essay “The Smartest Women I Know All Are Dissociating,” which went viral in 2019, inspired in part by Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s Fleabag character.
  • The term “dissociation” was coined by Pierre Janet in 1889 in the book-length scientific study L’automisme psychologique. For Janet, “dissociation” defined how the memory of trauma split itself off from the rest of the self, where it could not be internalized or assimilated. Patients suffering dissociative episodes might find that they were reenacting the trauma in any number of alarming or humiliating ways.
  • The only way words interest Dean Blunt is as symbols of meaninglessness, yellow traffic lights blinking down an empty road.

Related: On NPR “Stop doomscrolling and get ready for bed. ” We value productivity so much that we pack our days,” says Lauren Whitehurst, a cognitive neuroscientist and sleep researcher at the University of Kentucky. Revenge bedtime procrastination, she says, “is really a kind of commentary on [our lack of down time.]” It’s not about the inability to sleep – it’s about delaying sleep in an effort to assert some kind of control over your time.


Hat tip MIT Technology Review.

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Jayson Greene’s Book: “Once More We Saw Stars