Medicine in Melancholy- Songs to Lose Your Mind To
There is only so much words can express
You are not alone
For a feeling so universal so universal, melancholy seems quite underappreciated. There is a good reason for this, how do you communicate the warmth of being sad at nothing? It seems almost an arrogant thing to feel, in fact it most probably is. However, human beings are arrogant creatures. Therefore, unless you are one of the select few of us that have achieved enlightenment (congratulations by the way, see you on the other side) this article is to celebrate you moving forward when your brain could not find a reason to smile- you are not alone. Plus, as a proud member of the human race, I believe in the right light, our arrogance can be somewhat charming.
Riot!- Earl Sweatshirt
The inability to communicate itself seems to be the well this feeling springs from. You are not alone, but you will never be understood. In all the languages under the sun, we struggle daily to paint our realities for other people trapped in realities of their own. The problem is the portrait is always incomplete, our understanding of ourselves is incomplete and a painting is never the same to two different people.
As of the day I post this article, “Some rap songs” by Earl Sweatshirt is my favourite piece of art from 2018. The album sounds like a person trying, and failing, to communicate his reality whilst holding himself together with duct tape. Riot is the song where he fails. The complex lyricism, earnest introspection, and raw energy fade away into a hauntingly whimsical instrumental, that is as gorgeous as it is tragic. You will never be understood, but you are not lone- So that’s ok
You will never be understood
Long time- Playboi Carti
How do you explain to someone the pleasure of being sad at nothing- even if this person has experienced that same feeling? Unfortunately, there is no simple answer to that question, but a good place to start would be to play them Playboi Carti. Long time is a hypnotic song. With its glistening synths, hypnotic repetition, and blissful delivery, the piece sounds like what it feels like to drown in meaninglessness. A song that serves as a reminder that you can love, live, die, and most importantly party- yet still feel empty. You are not alone in this feeling.
Drowning doesn't sound too bad
Sound and vision- David Bowie
It must be clarified here that melancholy is not glamorous, it just is what it is, one of the subtler consequences of those creases that come with the beauty that is the human brain. We are always aware, on at least a subconscious level, of the bigger picture removed from ourselves. The catch is we are so small compared to this picture, that the only detail we can truly understand is how much bigger it is than us. Melancholy comes with this understanding. Human beings are exquisite creatures, we assign meaning to everything. A collection of sounds we call music, a collection of captured images we call film; we then deem them both as not only important, but beautiful. It is a wonderful trait, but it comes with its consequences. Sometimes we look for meaning in the chaotic and sometimes we find nothing. That is ok, you are not alone. So, we rejoice when we can keep going regardless and empathise with those for whom this is not as easy.
Truth be told we are all drowning in the warm waters of the meaningless, and it seems to be getting clearer every day that none of us even has the perspective to know which way leads to air. As you could imagine this is an incredibly difficult feeling to capture in music. But songs to lose your mind to was created to celebrate artists that succeed in capturing the difficult. David Bowie was one of those artists and sound and vision is a beautiful song, because it is a song that understands that you will feel melancholy again, and that you are not alone in this- and that’s ok.