Anyone else feeling a bit weird under lockdown?
It’s hard to pinpoint exactly how the procedures brought on by the coronavirus pandemic are making us feel at large. A sense of doom and an enforced mundane lifestyle is putting everyone through an emotional rollercoaster. If you’re anything like me, the ride takes you up and down several times a day.
In times like these, we turn to music to try and express our feelings for us. We’ve put together a list of albums to match all the feelings you’re probably having under lockdown, to help you guide yourself through this weird point in our lives.
Loneliness – Kid A, Radiohead
This pandemic feels like a very modern dystopia. The world hasn’t quite come to an end, just an abrupt halt. The machines are still buzzing, but the streets are eerily quiet. It’s reminiscent of the world Radiohead paint of Kid A.
Kid A is bleak even by Radiohead’s standards. The band took a risk after monumental success to experiment with electronic sounds, creating an album that sounds like a machine slowly running out of juice, see ‘Idioteque’ and ‘Motion Picture Soundtrack’, and spluttering back to life for one last horrific breath, ‘The National Anthem’. It encaptures both the sterile bleakness and the internal chaos of modern loneliness.
If this pandemic is anything as well as tragic, it’s lonely. We’re isolated from one another and struggling to make connections through screens and instant messages. Kid A may not have predicted social media, but it encapsulates the horrifying feeling of scrolling through it while you can’t leave your house amazingly well.
Regret – Rumours, Fleetwood Mac
Rumours isn’t quite tinged with regret about lost love and mistakes, the feeling is slathered all over it.
The story of Fleetwood Mac is one of constant chaos. If anyone knows the story of Rumours, they know how it covers and is heavily inspired by the ending of multiple relationships within the band. There are moments of clarity and escape from a troubled relationship of this album as it hits it’s most traditionally rock points, but there’s an overall feeling of regret that things didn’t go better.
We’re all regretting something right now. Not taking that job, not hanging out with our friends one last time before lockdown, not calling our parents. If you want to bathe in that feeling, but be treated to some hints of light at the end of the tunnel, Rumours is the album for you.
Anger – Rage Against The Machine, Rage Against The Machine
There’s a lot to be angry about at the moment. Calls to stay calm are everything, but sometimes, letting loose in frustration is hugely cathartic. Sometimes you need some music to soundtrack that explosion.
Few albums in mainstream rock history have ever conveyed the anger of Rage Against The Machine’s self-titled debut. Before they were earning Christmas number ones, this album was challenging police brutality, racial inequality and illegal wars. The combination of metal riffs and a funk-inspired rhythm section makes abject anger danceable for the first time.
At times like these, it’s important to channel your anger into constructive means. For those moments when you’re stuck at home alone, desperately staring at the state of the world this is the perfect album to feel like you’re not the only one noticing.
Confusion – To Pimp A Butterfly, Kendrick Lamar
It’s not often that a modern rap album feels confused. Confident, assured, braggadocious — these are the words we more commonly associate with the latest releases from world-famous rappers. However, on his 2015 epic concept album To Pimp A Butterfly, Kendrick Lamar captures a unique perspective on confusion.
The world feels mysterious these days, and the global pandemic is only exemplifying that. You’re not just questioning reports, but wondering how you’re going to navigate the world when this is all said and done.
This is how the characters in TPAB feel. They thought they understood the world, and on tracks like ‘Alright’ they have brief moments of relapse, but ultimately the world is full of temptations and lies. In a specific tale centered around the music industry, Lamar captures how decisions let people down and that feeling of staring down a life path, wondering if it’ll deliver everything it promises.
When we’re finally able to leave our homes and see each other again, social norms might not return. We’ll be like children stepping out into the world for the first time, unsure of the rules or whether or not to trust what we thought we knew, just like the characters in TPAB.
Angst – Welcome To The Black Parade, My Chemical Romance
In a way, many of us are reliving our teenage years.
Some of us will be cooped up alone in small flats or shared houses, with just a tiny space to call our own. Others will have retreated to their family homes, living out the lockdown in their childhood room surrounded by the decoration of late teenagehood. Lockdown might have you feeling a sense of teenage angst creeping in.
Why not fully embrace it? Any self-respecting teenager brimming with angst went through a bit of an emo phase, and was there a bigger band to build your identity around than My Chemical Romance?
Welcome To The Black Parade actually holds up better than you remember. There is some genuinely creative songwriting here to complement the pop-punk energy and triumphant dark theatrics. In difficult times nostalgia can be comforting, and few albums present better potential for a singalong on a Friday night indoors.
Stick this album on, look through your childhood photos and feel what it’s like to be 14 again. Maybe don’t let anyone catch you painting your nails black though.
Optimism – Emotion, Carly Rae Jepsen
Is there a more positive artist in the world today than Carly Rae Jepsen?
The singer famous for ‘Call Me Maybe’ has transformed herself into the pop-artist your metalhead friend admits to loving. In the last few years, she’s released a pair of 80s inspired synth-pop masterpieces. The first of these, Emotion, is particularly optimistic, an album that tells you to be who you are. A collection of songs, that while mainly covering lost and unrequited love, are too bubbly and buzzy to be anything but optimistic.
The saxophone on ‘Run Away With Me’, the perfect simplicity of the chorus on ‘I Really Like You’, it all comes together to leave you with a huge smile on your face and the feeling that while there’s bad in the world, positivity outshines it.
These are albums to be enjoyed lying in your childhood bed staring at the ceiling, pacing around the flat doing busy housework and staring out the window wondering when things will be normal again. What albums do you turn to when you’re feeling these emotions?