I don’t need to tell you that this has been a pretty awful week — a week in which everything horrible and rotten seemed to make its way to the forefront, wreaking havoc on everyone and everything in a way that gives one no choice but to question humanity in heartbreakingly thorough fashion.
These weeks are undeniably brutal, but they’re also an unfortunate reality of the Space Mountain that is life. I’m not entirely happy with that metaphor (definitely a bit cheesy), but it does fit pretty nicely; Space Mountain, unlike a normal roller-coaster, doesn’t tell you when the free-falls are coming. They just kind of happen, and mercilessly take your stomach along with them. I mean sure, you know they’re gonna happen at some point, but life is definitely like Space Mountain — it’s halfway over before you know it, and it’s a lot more money than you’d like it to be.
Anyway, music –trusty old music, with its habit of taking you to places that are as raw as they are uplifting, is a pretty good friend to have in times good and bad. Here are some songs to listen to when things just get to you:
1. Hero – Family Of The Year
You may know this song as “the song from Boyhood” — Richard Linklater’s critically raved about movie, which he filmed over the course of 12 years to tell the story of a young boy just trying to figure out his place in the world. I found the movie to be worth the hype and more — it’s one of those movies that you can’t stop thinking about long after the credits have rolled. Dean Norris (Hank from Breaking Bad), in addition to calling it the “best movie of my life”, also noted that the “Great American Novel Is A Movie.” I concur with Hank.
This song hits you pretty hard in the movie, but it’s also a pretty great one regardless of your opinion of the film. Definitely a band on the rise, and for good reason — few songs feel this honest.
2. Munny Right – Jon Bellion
For two years in middle school, I attended a summer basketball camp in Nassau County, Long Island. A few of us made the trek from Suffolk County, meaning that our bus ride was considerably longer than everyone else in the camp. There were only a few of us embarking on that considerable ride, so we all bonded in that classic summer camp sort of way — we were incredible friends for a few weeks, and then pretty much never really talked to each other again.
One of the kids on that bus was, among other things, a prolific beat-boxer. A decade later, this kid seems to be on the brink of significant celebrity. I don’t even think I’m biased at all when I say Jon Bellion is one of the most original artists in the world today, creating music that seems at once 20 years in the future, yet also incredibly “now.”Munny Right, the first single off of his upcoming album The Definition, which comes out next month.
3. I’ll Be Missin’ You – Faith Evans, Puff Daddy, 112
Nobody wants to go through loss, particularly senseless, inexplicable loss. What I most appreciate about Puff Daddy’s & Faith Evan’s tribute to the late great Notorious B.I.G. is that it manages to take that exact sentiment and channel it in a way that is at once inherently personal (the song is all about their very close friend), but at the same time universal. When you’re going through similar strife, you can resonate quite strongly with this one.
4. Work – Jimmy Eat World
I loved this video when I was 17. I watched it last night, and while it definitely slightly falls victim to “The Garden State Effect” (you view a piece of media as incredibly powerful, but part of that has to do with the age in which you first consumed it), it’s still a nice one. Sometimes you just need to get out of your head.
5. Midnight City – M83
Somewhat of an outlier on this list, Midnight City has that positive feeling from the get-go; listening to M83’s most notable song, it feels like the perpetual beginning of some sort of epic road trip; it’s the high you get when you know you’re off of work for a week, and have absolutely nothing to worry about. There’s also a perfect sunset involved. Don’t instagram the sunset, it’s unbecoming.
6. Airplanes Pt II. – B.o.B. Ft. Hayley Williams & Eminem
This song was quite huge when it came out in 2010. This might be the nostalgia talking, but the only song I remember being more all-consuming than this one (remember all the “I could really use a wish right now?” Facebook statuses?) was 2012’s Call Me Maybe. Though while Call Me Maybe really just capitalized on some sort of amazing-pop pleasure center, Airplanes seemed to have more a grip on stuff that’s a bit tougher to stomach. It’s a song that approaches whatever life throws at us head-on, acknowledging that as much as we’d like to escape, that’s only really something we can do through a temporary daydream.
We’re choosing Part II, because the alternate reality Eminem presents (let’s pretend Marshall Mathers never picked up a pen) is as amazing a motivational speech as any.
Thanks for reading, listening, or just scrolling. This isn’t really a list about these songs, it’s more about the sentiment. Here’s to a better next week.