Ten songs for the end times
Okay, it's not the end times. But it's a good time to put on the headphones and rock.
First off, a confession: my living room record player is most often playing either Dean Martin or Frank Sinatra. It's just a good vibe for the family, ya know?
But all bets are off when I plug in the headphones. Now I happen to have a lot more time for those headphones, so I thought I'd share a few songs I've been playing on repeat, apropos of the times in which we live. In no particular order, but numbered as such anyway:
1. "This Too Shall Pass" by Danny Schmidt
Okay, we'll start with some low-hanging fruit. This too shall pass indeed. We'll get through this. Schmidt's lyrics wind their way through the relationship between power and mortality, disease and nature, and of course, temporal realities we all have to face, especially at times of great struggle.
2. "Doom Days" by Bastille
It's interesting to be living through such a difficult moment that's colored through the lens of social media. Doom Days addresses this pretty succinctly. Given its name, you'd think this one's all gloom, but not so. You're left with a fairly sweet message at the end, about falling into a moment with those you love. There's no filter on that. Social media can't color a face to face interaction.
3. "The Doomed" by A Perfect Circle
This one's perhaps a doomier and gloomier take on the current state of affairs. It's pretty alarming that some of the sarcasm here is actually playing out in real time. As always, Maynard James Keenan's lyrics are biting, and we even get a little bit of his growl of yore.
4. "Rise" by the Flobots
"So much pain we don't know how to be but angry..."
Well ain't that the truth — at least if you ever read Twitter or Facebook. I think most people are grappling with the idea that there's mass struggle right now, and while we're all in the same boat, we feel like we're on our own sinking ships. Together we rise, that's the message here, and while it may be a bit cliché, it certainly rings true.
5. "Hysteria" by Muse
Aside from the name, I'm not entirely sure this song is relevant to our current situation, but man, the solo. I could listen to it all day long. I tried for a long time to learn it on the guitar, and while *technically* I played all the right notes, it sure didn't sound like Matthew Bellamy's guitar work.
6. "Problems and Bigger Ones" by Harvey Danger
I'll be honest, I have absolutely no idea what this song is about. The lyrics are sort of all over the place, but I love the way this song builds. There's nothing complicated about the guitar chords, or the drum beat, or the tempo. Yet with all those simple elements, Harvey Danger creates something powerful and shuddering by the end.
7. "Sober" by Tool
"I am just a worthless liar. I am just an imbecile. I will only complicate you. Trust in me and fall as well." Sounds like someone we all know...
This is one of my favorite rock songs ever. It may be the quintessential heavy metal song, really. It has everything, from scathingly dark lyrics to screaming guitars, a dark bass line, and a crescendo to give you chills.
8. "Good Times Bad Times" by Led Zeppelin
Do yourself a favor, just turn it up loud and jump around.
9. "Vorrei Ma Non Posto" by J-Ax and Fedez
There's an Italian saying that goes, "Vorrei ma non posso," which translates to, "I would, but I can't." Kind of sums up life on lockdown, yes?
J-Ax and Fedez change it up slightly to Vorrei ma non posto, which roughly translates to, "I would like to post, but I don't." It's a critique of our use of social media, what we share, and what we don't. Perhaps it's a good guide to prevent oversharing while we're feeling isolated?
Also, the video is super cool:
10. "Fighting Trousers" by Professor Elemental
I've been fighting trousers since social distancing became a thing. Har har. This one's a pretty fun, lighthearted song from a genre of music I didn't even know existed until recently, called "chap-hop." It's a diss track, but in proper Queen's English.