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breathe, feel

11 songs that make sense through the endless sequence of isolation.

By Azreen MahmoodPublished 3 years ago 5 min read

my mind is flooded with ways I want to begin this piece for I love music and being able to write about music and what a song means to me is like telling a bird, ' go fly.'

lately, I've found myself shuffling within songs that evoke some sort of emotion, maybe nostalgia, maybe a feeling of hopelessness at times or even a feeling that perhaps after all, we'll make it out alive. I will make it out alive.

of course I'm speaking in terms of the pandemic induced isolation but I can't be the only one who thinks this time right now is but a mere reflection of our lives.

I've sat back (because I have nothing much else to do of course) and thought how I see this situation, is how I see life too.

I know 11 songs can't come close to summarising the complex human emotions we feel each passing second, but to me this is the sequence of how I've come to accept isolation in a rather curved fashion (not unlike how the virus came to rise.)

so, sit back with me, open the blinds and gaze outside with a cup of coffee. allow me to take you on soulful ride among a panic stricken crowd with 11 songs.

1. 'And if I had the choice

Yeah, I'd always wanna be there

Those were the best days of my life'

As everything came to a sudden halt and lock-downs ensued like bushfire throughout the globe, life just suddenly...stopped. Everything shifted format from physical to online as though giving rise to a new era of humanity altogether. Ironic as it may be, a time couldn't be more perfect than now to appreciate the moments gone to never come back. To reminisce what we had and took for granted and how yesterday was a better day than today. How the best things have gone by and we only realise it for its absence. Be it back in the summer of '69 or back in time a week ago, those really were the best days of my life.

2. 'I woke today

Inside a train of dreams

The rain poured down in black and white

I stood and stared'

And then it hits. This is the new reality. This is what it is. Isolation. From a lively, active life with daily goals to a life of nothingness and wonder of where this is to lead. That was my second phase. Wonder, confusion and nothingness as everything started to fall apart from the next song.

3. 'But I feel I'm growing older

And the songs that I have sung

Echo in the distance'

To me time felt like a concept long forsaken. Days started passing without me knowing what day of the year it was anymore. I felt life was moving forward and I was left behind. I was restricted by this unseen force. I could see people reconnecting with old friends and family but I felt like I was lost in this loop, living life as a home-stuck vagabond and my relations were falling apart. My mind was droning on...

4. 'That's me in the corner

That's me in the spotlight

Losing my religion

Trying to keep up with you'

After losing sense of time my life came crumbling down. Or so dramatic it felt at the time. I couldn't cope, no matter how hard I tried, I kept failing and I kept wondering if this this the end of the line. If this isolation takes me to the brink of insanity. If I lose it all in one go, over one pandemic.

But, life, it's all a process. You break. You melt and you're shattered only to be re-molded.

5. 'I'm leaving soon, the others are already there

You wouldn't be interested in coming along, instead of staying here

They say the west is nice this time of year'

A transition. We were all hanging on a thin rope unaware which way the wind would take us.

6. 'We believed we'd catch the rainbow

Ride the wind to the sun

Sail away on ships of wonder

But life's not a wheel'

You realise there's no point in pining over what's gone, all the things we took for granted, to regret all the wasted times to fear the worst and pend the inevitable.

I became realistic. I can't fit my quarantine journey into the cookie-cutter stages of grief, and neither can you for we are all individually different, but I'm sure we can all agree that at some point we overcame the initial phases of denial and revolt and started accepting the lifestyle in the name of safety. Because life really is not a wheel, there is no constant and there is no certainty. What will be tomorrow is unknown and all we have is today to catch our rainbows.

7. 'I'm on my way home, on my way home

Yesterday seems long ago, so long ago

I'm on my way home, sending postcards home

And greetings from the eye of the storm'

Anything you'll hear from Scorpions will be a post war life told in beautiful poetry. Everyday we're fighting our own wars and isolation has been no less than fighting a war. It's still far from coming to an end, yet, I am yearning for the days I can live again.

This song is what will make me nostalgic about the times spent in isolation, for even now we're breathing. We're still alive.

8. 'Dust in the wind

All we are is dust in the wind

Everything is dust in the wind'

At the end of the day, nothing really matters. All we've accumulated all that we have, none of that matters and coming to terms with that is the most liberating thing of all.

9. 'Stay with me

Let's just breathe'


Is what inspired the entire playlist.

Just breathe. You're alive now.

Relish every breath you can take.

Appreciate every moment you have.

They won't last. They won't be there forever.

Not the good, not the bad.

10. 'I know I was born and I know that I'll die

The in between is mine

I am mine'

Know this, for that's all you need in life.

11. 'So hey, hey, hey, hush, don't be crying now, hear

Cos any day fortune may wander down, dear

And we can see a world that is milk and honey

The tapestry of life as a beautiful journey'

And to end my playlist of quarantine (aka life, because I'm really just talking about life in general here), we don't live in a perfect world and isolation will not be perfect. I doubt myself in every step I have been taking for I don't know the consequences my actions would lead to at a time like this. It's all uncertain, but even if it's false hope that there's a world that's milk and honey, I'm happy to find my peace.


Some songs will be of a meaning that doesn't collide with another, and that's fine. Because you know what, we don't feel the same thing every hour. We don't see the world same everyday. And we won't make sense of things tomorrow the same as we do today. Our beliefs and convictions change everyday.

[PS: I wrote this when the pandemic first hit, but never got to posting it]


About the Creator

Azreen Mahmood

i write

to make sense of what's wrong around me

to let my emotions find a place

to say there's another perspective, always

if you like what i have to say a small tip would be much appreciated,

thank you for taking the time and interest <3

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