Grief is a harsh, awful, painful, yet ultimately normal part of life. We all experience it, we all feel it, but not everyone is able to process it and move through it. Fortunately for us, there are other people out there who feel what we feel and express it through music, which in turn helps the rest of us get through whatever we’re struggling with. So, today we’re going to look at five songs that I personally find helpful when depressed.
Asking Alexandria – “Faded Out” ft. Sharon den Adel
If country/blues doesn’t tickle your fancy for dealing with depression and you’re looking for something with more screaming and energy, metalcore is the genre to explore. If 2022 offered one truly fantastic song about depression, it would be ASKING ALEXANDRIA‘s new release, “Faded Out,” which features Sharon den Adel from WITHIN TEMPTATION, in a surprising guest feature. There is a point in depression where you become so exhausted that it seems like existing takes up all of your energy, and healing seems unreasonable, as just keeping your eyes open seems like a tall order. ASKING ALEXANDRIA put this feeling quite succinctly with the notion, “I’m stuck inside a loop, why can’t I shake it off | is it not enough to want to get better…”
Shaman’s Harvest – “Voices”
We all have days when the voices in our heads tell us that we’re not doing enough, we’re not trying as hard as we should be, we’re not dedicating ourselves… and SHAMAN’S HARVEST made a song aptly named “Voices” during the pandemic that sings about this very subject. Perhaps it’s because all touring musicians feel a degree of depression or craziness due to their busy and high-stress lifestyle, but these guys manage to perfectly nail the feeling of being overwhelmed by your own mind with lyrics like, “these voices tryin’ to kill me | they’ve been bringing me low | words I don’t understand, more animal than man | these voices tryin’ to kill me | and they’re waiting for the time I give in…”, which express the relentless nature of depressive feelings.
Badflower – “Ghost”
Some songs are so truly gut-wrenchingly spot-on when it comes to the darkest parts of depression that they become almost dangerous to share with depressed people, because you worry the song might push them over the edge. In the case of “Ghost” by BADFLOWER, this is a fairly graphic and brutally emotional song about a person who has become suicidal and is cutting their wrists, with each attempt getting worse and more dangerous as the song goes on. The song is so upsetting that it could theoretically make you too miserable and put you in danger of yourself, but there is something to be said about a song that connects with you so deeply that it tips your emotions over the scale and thus purges all the bad feelings from your soul, allowing some clarity to fill in the space after all the sorrow comes out.
Ayreon – “Day 3: Pain”
The obligatory AYREON track this time is “Day Three: Pain,” which is a song from early on in the story that begins to show some insight into the main character, as he is haunted by his own pain, lurking and singing, “I am pain, I am the wound that never heals | it’s all in vain, no compromise, no deals….” It’s true that when we’re hurting, it feels like there is no escape, no end, but as the album and life prove time and time again, time does heal all wounds. This song, however, has a cathartic feeling to it, as Pain is so vividly portrayed as something that is relentless and endless, but the album ultimately teaches that pain is a normal part of life and that we all experience it in some form or another. I particularly recommend looking up the live video from The Theater Equation, as Devon Graves really puts his entire body into embodying (pun fully intended) the avatar of Pain.
Arion – “Life is Not Beautiful”
Sometimes you’re writing your sophomore album and you’re not in a good place. The reason could be anything, such as the loss of a family member. Sometimes, you channel that disappointment in life into your music and it comes out in a delightfully pessimistically-named album like ARION‘s 2018 release, “Life is Not Beautiful.” There’s a lot of aggressive music on this release, but one of the hardest-hitting tracks is the album’s namesake, which states simply that “life is not beautiful, it is cold and lonely,” and sometimes, when we’re feeling down, we need to feel the bad feelings completely so that we have room to let the good feelings in. Listening to this track can allow the euphoria of giving up, without actually having to give up.