We live in extremely strange times. Anyone who’s seen the celluloid thriller Contagion will agree that life imitates art, in real life and in real time. Although the metropolis hasn’t come to a standstill (yet), the threat is real, but keeping cool and calm is a must. The proper dissemination of legit information will allay any needless panicking. Times like these call for vigilance and sensibility; and some music to take our minds off of things. But, if you like to rock and roll with the punches (like me), then here’s five songs that will help you do just that.
(In no particular order)
Disturbed — ‘Down With
Released in 2000 from their album The Sickness, “Disturbed” made a nuisance of themselves in the heavy metal front with this rousing midtempo rocker. Undergoing a few lineup changes and even a hibernation period, the band continues to soldier on in the metal trenches with a planned tour with Bad Wolves and Staind to celebrate their 20th anniversary. Zombie movie fans will remember this song from the closing credits of the 2004 remake of George Romero’s classic flick Dawn Of The Dead.
Yours Truly — ‘I Can’t Feel’
Living life while going through a rare disorder is tough. Mikaila Delgado, lead singer of the band Yours Truly knows this all too well. Since the age of two, she’s had EDS (Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome), a rare connective tissue disorder that can cause joint hypermobility, stretchy skin and tissue fragility. “I Can’t Feel” is the song she wrote “about the struggles of doubting yourself because of an uncontrollable condition,” she said, adding “since EDS is an invisible disability, putting my experiences in a song allowed me to say things I’ve always wanted to say for the past 21 years.”
U2 — ‘Bad’
This is not a rebel song (tongue in cheek). This isn’t a song about mental illness, either. It’s a song about watching someone suffer from drug addiction and how the addiction affects others.
Nothing is more painful than a person you’re compelled to help, but can’t. Sometimes it’s not up to us to save them; they need to save themselves. It’s both infuriating and heartbreaking. But that’s life.
“If you tear yourself in two again, If I could, you know I would, If I could, I would let it go…”
Brad Paisley — ‘Hard Life’
Not all the best songs are written by their singers. Country star Brad Paisley sang “Hard Life” because he has a soft spot for those living the life. Written by 23-year-old Joe Kindregan, a native Virginian he met at Team 25, a fundraiser that helps kids going through health challenges. Joe suffers from A-T (Ataxia-Telangiectasia), a fatal disease that combines symptoms of cystic fibrosis, muscular dystrophy, immune deficiencies and cancer. Brad said, “I’ve known Joe for several years and he is one of my favorite people. His disease is physically debilitating, but obviously creatively and mentally, Joe has such tremendous depth. It’s an honor for me to be the person to give voice to his creativity and cause.”
Matchbox Twenty — ‘Unwell’
It is unclear whether the song talks about mental illness or mere heartbreak. Or both. One caused by the other, perhaps. This 2002 hit from the American band Matchbox Twenty led by singer Rob Thomas was a biggie, spending 18 weeks at the top of the US Billboard Adult Top 40 charts. “Unwell” did pretty well for itself hit-wise, but the words belie little of the singer’s malady. Though the chorus does drop hints..
“I’m not crazy, I’m just a little unwell..”
It dispels the notion of mental probs, yet majority of the lyric’s imagery point directly at hallucinations, paranoia and the like, its catchiness somehow shrouding the deeper, underlying complications. Nevertheless, it’s a clever play on words with a mandolin hook that never fails to snag you on the first listen.
Though the serious issues attached to these musical masterpieces are not to be taken lightly, listening to these and many more similarly themed tunes help to calm us and soothe us in trying times such as these. Music is an audio elixir that can help us sail through the storms, trials and tribulations of life with the wind in our backs and the sun shining on us, hot enough to kill any viruses that threaten to disrupt our own hard lives. Music somehow eases us through this, and hopefully that’s what we’ve achieved here today.