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Refuge in Music: Pandemic Playlist 5

TW: mention of depression and mental health difficulty.

Lockdown hasn’t exactly been fun. Hot take, I know, but hear me out. Turns out being shut inside with little to no social contact for months on end isn’t good for your mental health. We all predicted it; at the very beginning of lockdown people were talking about how the second wave of illness would be a mental one. Well, that wave is here. Mind, the mental health charity, reported 65% of survey respondents saying their mental health had worsened in lockdown, and that number only goes up if you focus on young people.

I’m among the many caught up in this wave. In lockdown, my depression hit lows I haven’t experienced in years. I found myself unable to muster the motivation to do anything. I didn’t respond to friends’ texts for days, even weeks, at a time (sorry guys, I love and cherish all of you, I promise). I couldn’t sleep. I couldn’t complete my work. I felt every ounce of my sudden (and partially self-induced) loneliness constantly. I fantasised about committing the big aliven’t.

But I’ve been here before and I’ve made it through every time, and I’ll be damned if I get outlived by Trump. So, I called back into action my tried and tested coping mechanisms. Chief among them (apart from talking about my problems with someone with training, obviously):

I seek refuge in music.

The kind of music where you can immerse yourself in the emotion and the pain because it’s the kind of music where you know the artist feels the same pain. It’s cathartic. So here are my favourite lockdown anthems to sit in a field questioning your life’s significance to:

Raleigh Ritchie – Time in a Tree

                I get wound up, from the ground up; And I don’t know why,
                Turn the sound up, drown the noise out; Swallow (whoa), don’t cry

I discovered Raleigh Ritchie (a.k.a Jacob Anderson, a.k.a. Grey Worm from Game of Thrones) towards the beginning of lockdown. The lyrics of every song are brutally honest, with most focusing on his experience of anxiety and depression, and they are all incredible. But this is my number one. My go to. It’s calming. It makes you feel like you are getting your time in a tree.

Raleigh Ritchie – Stay Inside

                Nothing is getting in, not even light,
                I’m gonna stay inside, stay inside

The title sounds like some cringey, Covid-era, amateur parody of Stay With Me imploring people to follow lockdown rules, but it was actually released back in 2013 and perfectly captures the feeling of just wanting to shut yourself inside away from the world. Being lockdown appropriate is an added bonus.

Nothing But Thieves – Is Everybody Going Crazy?

                Is anyone else feeling lonely? It just can’t be me only,
                Losing our cool so slowly

This was released just as lockdown began and the lyrics are weirdly perfect for lockdown. Like, it’s-not-unreasonable-to-question-whether-the-band-predicted-coronavirus level perfect. People do be going crazy. And I do be feeling lonely. Perfect.

half●alive – still feel.

                Floating in outer space, have I misplaced a part of my soul?
                Lost in the in-between, or so it seems, I’m out of control

You know that feeling of dissociation where nothing feels real and it’s like you’re a passive observer of life and things are just happening to you rather than you affecting anything or really even being present in reality at all? Me too. And apparently so does the writer of this song.

The Killers – Rut

                Don’t give up on me; ‘Cause I’m just in a rut,
                I’m climbing but the walls keep stacking up

Remember it’s just a rut. That’s an important phrase I repeat to myself when I’m feeling like shit. Because it’s true. You’ll get through this. It won’t last forever, even though it feels that way. It’s just a rut.

Honourable mentions:

Cavetown – Home

                Get a load of this monster; He doesn’t know how to communicate,
                His mind is in a different place; Will everyone please give him a little bit of space?

The Black Keys – Turn Blue

                In the dead of the night I start to lose control,
                But I still carry the weight like I’ve always done before

Nothing But Thieves – Soda

                I don’t wanna be myself,
                It’s making me so unwell

Raleigh Ritchie – Worries

                I live in my own head; And I don’t feel at home there,
                Maybe I didn’t know it yet; But I’ve been trying to reset

The Killers – Be Still

                Don’t break character,
                You’ve got a lot of heart

And to top the playlist off:

Thomas Benjamin Wild Esq. – I’ve No More Fucks to Give

A little serotonin at the end, just as a treat. All good getting cathartic and immersing yourself in those feelings for a while, but you need something at the end to pull you out of that place so you don’t linger too long.

This is Part 5 of a mini series of Pandemic Playlists, curated by Music Editor Katie Bunney, sharing the songs that have been getting us through this peculiar time. Get in touch if you would like to contribute.