“V” – A to Z blogging challenge – Day 22

“Virtuality” from 1996’s Test For Echo

From 1996, this song takes a look at the growing online world and our fascination with it.

Astronauts in the weightlessness of pixelated space

Exchange graffiti with a disembodied race

I can save the universe in a grain of sand

I can hold the future in my virtual hand1

The vastness of the virtual world contrasted with the lack of physical/real presence, with a nod to the silicon base of the technology (“grain of sand”).

Let’s dance tonight to a virtual song

Press this key and you can play along

Let’s fly tonight on our virtual wings

Press this key to see amazin’ things To see amazin’ things1

The burgeoning fascination with digital music at the time, today we see the fruition of that with media of all kinds being stored not only electronically, but in the even more amorphous phenomenon of “the cloud.”  Simply “press this key” to access entertainment of all kinds (presumably, not all as wholesome as simple music).

Like a pair of vagabonds who wave between two passin’ trains

Or the glimpse of a woman’s smile through a window in the rain

I can smell her perfume, I can taste her lips

I can feel the voltage from her fingertips1

And then the growing disconnect between us as we find all of these new way to connect with one another and the world around us.  Lost, of course, is the actual physical interaction, the smell, taste, etc.  This discussion crops up from time to time in serious academic discussion, attempting to highlight the burden that this technology is placing on personal interaction (facebook, etc).

Pretty prescient for a rock song from 1996, no?

1Rush.  “Virtuality”  Lyr. Neil Peart.  Test for Echo.  Atlantic Records.  1996.  CD.

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