Songs That Break Into My Home and Mug Me at Gunpoint
A playlist that hits me too close to home
We all know the feeling. The one where it feels like the song was written specifically for you, like somebody's been looking over your shoulder. The kind that makes you feel a little too seen. Whenever I hear one of those songs that makes me say "oof", there's one special playlist I add it to. Here's a glimpse behind that curtain.
Underground - MISSIO
I should be on top but I'm always underground/Things are looking up but I'm making myself drown
Biting off more than you can chew? Over-committing, then feeling like you're being crushed under the weight? Oh yep, I can definitely relate. Although that's probably not what the songwriter had in mind writing this one, it's what I hear every time.
Even the album art is relatable: being pulled in so many different directions, feeling like you're screaming underwater and nobody can hear. This isn't a call for help, I swear, but it is a great way to start an article about relatable music. It's a song that packs a playful punch, masking a grim message with a snaring hook. And if you're not careful, it's a persistent earworm.
When Am I Gonna Lose You - Local Natives
When you're punching above your weight and riddled with abandonment issues, let me tell you, Local Natives have your number in a way you wish they didn't. A song voicing anxieties about loss and heartbreak shouldn't make me want to dance so much, but it do.
And God, what a bridge. Even if it doesn't hit home like it does for me, it's a banger for that alone. Shower singers, meet your match.
The Old Me - Jess Thristan
I used to stand a little taller/Used to laugh a little louder
Looking back at how you used to be when you were younger is cringey, most of the time, but now and again it can be heartbreaking. If you've ever felt like you're growing in the wrong direction, this little country number has your back.
For me, The Old Me was one big break-up number. I looked back at how much better I was as a person before an emotionally manipulative relationship changed me, and I just couldn't imagine getting back to that person. But I've had friends say it's a big depression mood, too, and they're not wrong.
Caves - Evening Machines
Did I hear something break?/Was that your heart or my heart?
Good God I adore this haunting, ethereal, supernova of a track.
Gregory Alan Isakov's vocals here are never going to stop giving me chills. It's a nebulous song hard to make sense of, but for me it's about slowing down and taking a minute to catch your breath in the sombre peace between childhood innocence and the heartbreak of loss. Watching family eaten up by dementia, and wanting to find a moment of solace in that storm of age.
I'm probably projecting, but that's okay. That's exactly what songs like this are for.
Black Dog - Arlo Parks
Just take your medicine and eat some food /I would do anything to get you out your room
Arlo Parks writes a love letter to mental health here, a powerful ode to desperation in the face of depression. Like a lot of people, I've been both sides of this song: the one trying their heart out to help someone out of their depression, doing anything at all to keep them alive -- and the one laying in bed for hours, despondent, adrift from everything around them.
The sad truth is, there's no magic cure, and you can't stay on suicide watch forever. You have to look out for number one. If you're running on empty, you can't sacrifice your own mental health to save someone else's. But God knows my friends have rescued me when I've been at my lowest. Whether it's a trip to the beach, a movie date or a midnight drive to maccas: knowing someone is there is a powerful thing.
I Want To Kill You - Citizen
I'll keep on running but it gets so tiring /And when there is nothing left to write down /Oh, will you come running when I get too tired?
I'm such a Citizen girl. This, by far, is my favourite track from Life in Your Glass World, and I knew it the moment I heard the opening bars. The energy it brings to the album is interstellar. Just hearing it makes me feel like a grotty little angry punk.
In it, I hear another song about taking too much on. I'll keep it coming if you want some more. But who's going to be there when I run my batteries out? It's not just a cry for help, it's a scream.
And don't sleep on the music video, either. Who doesn't love a gym workout session in the woods at night?
STAY CLOSE - SYML
STAY CLOSE is a love song wrapped in anxiety about futility. It's a song about death and how it breaks up everyone, and how much it will hurt when it happens, and how we can't keep it away forever.
One lifetime is never enough, so stay with me
Not everyone is looking for "the one", but for the people who are, when you find them, forever wouldn't be long enough. The thought of being on different sides of the endless river -- time -- is paralysing. It's a song that feels like reaching for your soulmate through the fog, and feeling them reach back.
Baby Steps - Amy Shark
And of course, to wrap this up, we all knew there would be another break-up song. There's nothing more relatable than pulling yourself back together after having your world shattered.
And I'm gonna need all my friends around mе the next few days
The first time I heard this, I thought about my ex. But then a week later, my dad passed away suddenly from heart disease, and the song took on a new meaning.
It's always a team effort, baby steps, baby steps
I've listened to this more times in the shower than I can count. I didn't know where to start -- I still don't -- so I start with the little things, the baby steps. I just have to keep moving forward, even if I'm crawling. Even if it's taking longer than it should.
You can find a lot in music if you listen out for it. I really believe that the songs you love hold up a mirror to you. This is my mirror; in this playlist, I found a better image of myself than I had before. So go ahead, take a listen to these songs. Maybe you'll get a better idea of me than you had before.
Maybe you'll get a better idea of yourself, too.