As Covid-19 cases begin to rise again in Michigan and a fresh wave of restrictions seem imminent, my stress levels regarding the ongoing global pandemic have skyrocketed. And I’m certainly not alone. Almost everyone I’ve talked to in the last week has felt at least unsettled by the way cases are going up.
Will I catch Covid? Will I give it to my family? Will this ever be over? What’s going to happen? It’s easy to go down a rabbithole of negative thoughts, and not be present in life right now. A whole day can be soured by focusing on possibilities instead of reality. I know a ton of mine have been.
So in the interest of not living like that, I’ve had to change things in my life. Whenever I get remotely close to that negative spiral head space, I’ve trained myself to turn to other things. Practicing an instrument, cleaning, painting, writing, etc. are all good and equally productive activities to turn to. But my favorite thing to turn to, my guilty pleasure when I start to feel down, has been music. It’s not very productive to just listen to music, but it’s also not wallowing in sadness about the future of the world. So in the interest of giving myself a break, putting on a song when I start to really stress out has become my go to.
In particular, there’s been a couple songs I’ve turned to time and time again. They’re definitely worth a listen, so in the interest of helping you out with your corona stress, I’ve sorted out my very favorites and listed them below.
Norman F***ing Rockwell- Lana Del Rey
I can not stress enough that Lana is an icon and will be listened to by generations to come. In this title track for her album that came out last year, she lovingly sings over a beautiful backing instrumental for fourteen minutes. While that fourteen minutes does contain multiple interludes, it is still a song of epic proportions. Lana just makes you feel a certain type of way ya know? So pop a bag of popcorn, and turn on the music video. When it finishes, you’ll probably just want to watch and listen again. It’s that good.
Sweeter- Leon Bridges feat. Terrace Martin
This one will make your soul sing and your eyes shed tears. Bridges is known for writing love ballads and songs that make you swing back and forth on a dance floor, but this release is something different. Bridge’s press release for the song said in part the following- "I cannot and will not be silent any longer. Just as Abel's blood was crying out to God, George Floyd is crying out to me." Those words contain power, and Sweeter is just that. But not in the typical "I dominate over you" sense of power. No, Sweeter is a poignant, soft, touching, and heart breaking power. While not as optimistic as Sam Cooke’s “A change is gonna come” this song is comparable to it in terms of raw emotion. Please listen.
Two Slow Dancers- Mitski
Are you alive? If so, you should really turn on this song. Your heart will be touched by Mitski’s evocative and touching lyrics coupled with her absolutely wonderful voice. The song tells the story of two lovers who in their old age are nostalgically reminiscing about a slow dance in a gymnasium. WIth lyrics like, “And the ground has been slowly pulling us back down/ You see it on both our skin/ We get a few years and then it wants us back” You’ll probably cry before it’s over. I definitely do.
I hope you give these three songs a chance! I think they’ll definitely help ease some quarantine blues. Happy listening.