Being a student at Christmas never feels like a holiday, does it? Exams, essays, portfolios to work on, and I won’t mention the word dissertation – those January deadlines are ever-present in the back of your mind. With the pandemic and all that comes with it, it’s been even more difficult to find the motivation to open that Word document and start typing. Sometimes the most ‘productive’ thing I managed was changing my clothes. As we welcomed in the New Year, with a large dose of denial and perhaps misjudged optimism, a new lockdown announcement soon came. Ah yes, that familiar feeling of uncertainty and an overwhelming ache in my chest. So, I turned to music to get me through the days of endless reading and writing, but also the days where all I could achieve was lying on my bedroom floor. Or jumping around the kitchen making my ‘um-I’ve-lost-count’ cup of coffee. These are my most played, most shouted, most cried to, most anxiety-relieving songs of the past month.
Boys Don’t Cry – The Cure
Ever since I watched the episode in The Crown where this song featured as a backdrop to the rising unemployment under Margaret Thatcher, it’s been stuck in my head. I’ve queued it as a reminder that boys (and girls) do in fact cry, a lot. Sometimes crying on your daily walk is the cathartic release you need.
TOOTIMETOOTIMETOOTIME – The 1975
I used to be a massive fan of The 1975; however, I’m not keen on their newer stuff. But this is a massive bop. Literally featured in a playlist titled ‘bops.’ Speaks for itself really. It reminds me of getting ready to go out in first year, pushing your way through the crowd in Rock City and the faint smell of VKs and sweat. For now, dancing around the kitchen will have to do.
Try – ISLAND
Deadline season means a lot of late nights and therefore, slow, dreamy, songs are essential. Played when the only light in my room is the glare from the laptop screen. This song from the alternative rock band ISLAND with its atmospheric sound and slightly downcast lyrics made it perfect for late at night thinking. Or lying with your headphones in until 3 am when you really should go to sleep.
Halo – Boston Manor
This UK alternative band incorporate grunge, pop-punk and rock influences and Halo comes from their second album, Welcome to the Neighbourhood (2018). The lyrics reference substance abuse and addiction, summed up in the bridge ‘Just a quick fix then I’ll get clean.’ Halo is one of their more well-known songs after premiering at Download in 2018. Brand New Kids is also just as catchy.
Sending Me Right Back – Turnover
Would it be a music article without mentioning Turnover? Of course not. From their 2019 album Altogether, Sending Me Right Back is an upbeat track amidst the slower, reflective, songs that make up the rest of the record. As you come to expect with Turnover, the lyrics cut deep, often tinged with anxiety, uncertainty and being in love with idealised realities. Such as the chorus line: ‘You ever wanted something for so long/Then waste it all?’
Timeless Youth – Telltale
A more recent find from my Discover Weekly, Telltale definitely remind me of early Fall Out Boy, but with their own distinctive edge. Lyrics about the precious and vulnerable years of youth are particularly poignant during a time of social restrictions that are redefining how we, at least for now, live out our ‘timeless youth.’
Lord I Know – Kid Cudi
From the third instalment of his Man on the Moon series, Lord I Know has me ‘bopping’ (that’s the only verb that jumps to my mind to describe this dance move) every time. The third Man on the Moon album has the recognisable space-like instrumentals and humming that makes his sound so distinctive, as well as ambitious collaborations. Hello, Phoebe Bridgers. This last song ends with ‘to be continued’, sparking hope for future music from the rap legend.
I love to share music recommendations with my friends, so hopefully at least one of these songs makes it onto your playlist.