82% of Gen Z and Millennials use music to alter their mood. Welcome to the escapism series, a collection of music created by Gen Z. Experiencing anxiety whether personally or vicariously through a loved one can be extremely isolating. There are six tracks on this playlist called anxiety, though, so you definitely aren't alone.
TW: Today's playlist relates to anxiety. It is posted on Youtube here. Help is available at these links.
**Please note: This theme is my interpretation of lyrics - It is not meant to imply diagnoses, lived experiences, or any other associations between artist and mental health condition **
Track #1: "brutal" - Olivia Rodrigo
“And I don't stick up for myself / I'm anxious and nothing can help." This album won the then 19-y/o a Grammy for the Best Pop Vocal Album of the year in 2022. Are you listening yet, adults?
"Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) usually involves a persistent feeling of anxiety or dread, which can interfere with daily life. It is not the same as occasionally worrying about things or experiencing anxiety due to stressful life events. People living with GAD experience frequent anxiety for months, if not years." - National Institute of Mental Health
“I have this paralyzing fear I'm maybe going nowhere" OR "You couldn’t hate me more than I hate myself." The lyrics are clear that the then 18-y/o was hard on herself.
Anxiety often presents in the form of persistent self-deprecation and basically makes one always feel like the anti-hero. Speaking of which... I just got an idea for the Millennial shoutout portion of the playlist.
Track #3: "Control" - Zoe Wees
"Fighting my anxiety constantly I try to control it." It can be tough to reckon with the fact that mental illness is beyond the realm of control.
"It's just pills and therapy bills / Just to keep me away from you / And it works for a little while, bullshit smiles / But I'm just walking through the motions / Either that, or losing track of my emotions / 4 a.m. panic attacks." She's got a really cool music video on the subtle anxiety mannerisms, go check it out.
“I, I should go / To a therapist 'cause it keeps happenin' / Used to be funny, but now I stopped laughin'”
“Sometimes I feel I can't trust no one around me / There's another side of me, but I don't even show it."
Track #7: "anxiety." - JVKE
"Yeah, I've been stressing lately / But I don't ever let it show / So nobody knows / My friends don't understand me / I'm overthinking tryna cope / I feel so alone"
Lol are you sensing the theme here? It surprised me to see so many lyrics about trying to hide one's anxiety, as if there's something fundamentally wrong with a person for experiencing it. I can relate to that but I don't recall ever trying to articulate the isolation that trying to hide my own anxiety caused. So thanks, anxious singers series.
Track #8: "come out and play" - Billie Eilish
“To show 'em everything you kept inside / Don't hide.” Y'all she was 17 when this song came out, I could've used some of that solidarity at 17 believe me.
Shouting out our Millennial artistssss
Proud to note we got a lot of males singing about their feelings in this second half of the playlist.
Track #9: “Anxiety" - Bmike
"Every single day it breaks me to pieces / I've tasted defeat at the feet of my demons / I'm such a fucking waste of achievement" The lyrics on this song are particularly brutal self deprecation. The quote definitely speaks to the feeling that anxiety is like an internal bully on one's self worth.
Track #10: “Anxiety" - Megan Thee Stallion
"They keep sayin' I should get help / But I don't even know what I need / They keep sayin' speak your truth/ And at the same time say they don't believe" !!!!
I LOVE THIS SONG. "My exes say that I'm hard to deal with / And I admit it, yeah / But all my friends, they don't know what it's like, what it's like / They don't understand why I can't sleep through the night"
Track #12: “Talking to Myself (demo)" - Lauv
"I'm tired of talkin' to myself / ... / Of talkin' to the man in the mirror / Think that I could use some help" Switching gears to a less lonely more hopeful end of the list.
Track #13: “Only A Lifetime" - FINNEAS
"Don't waste the time you have waiting for time to pass / It's only a lifetime / ... / It's family and friends, and that's the truth / ... / It's staying up too late at night and laughing under kitchen lights"
FINNEAS is the big brother of a certain Gen Z sister on Track #8.
Track #14: “Hey Stupid, I Love You" - JP Saxe
"But I know how complicated it can get / When you're not in front of me / I know insecurities / Get in your head"
A classic you are not alone track. But just in case you still feel like you are...
Track #15: “Still Have Me" - Demi Lovato
"I don't have much but at least I still have me." Enough said.
The National Institute of Mental Health concluded YOU ARE NOT ALONE. The statistics prove it. 1 in 3 adults will experience anxiety in their lifetime.
What are your songs in this escapism series? Find the playlist here.