10 votes

What Song Comes to Mind: Anxious

Hey fellow tilderinos,

I thought it'd be interesting to have a semi-regular discussion where we get into those songs, whether a new find or old standby, where we relate them to specific emotions.

I'd like to keep it pretty general for now and not put too many rules or regulations on how the discussion unfolds (it is a discussion after all) so we start with something more ambiguous: anxious.

So tilderinos what songs do you gravitate towards when you feel anxious or what songs do you feel capture the emotion of anxiousness properly to you?

For instance: Ful Stop by Radiohead really captures what anxiety feels like for me. From the underlying base to the manic cries of Thom Yorke is really is an experience. One or two times I've been on my way home from work and this song pops on and it's almost too much for a drive home after a long shift.

On the flip side, Lion's Mane by Iron and Wine has the ability to calm me down even at my most anxious. It gives me the idea that it isn't always easy but its relatable and everything will calm down and be okay. It's mostly just really soothing to me for whatever reason.

Your turn Tilde. What songs do you associate with the word "anxious?"

17 comments

  1. [2]
    Whom (edited ) Link
    First thought: Geto Boys - Mind Playing Tricks On Me Naturally wrapped up with good doses of depression, paranoia, and regret...but this is definitely what pops up in my head first for music that...

    First thought: Geto Boys - Mind Playing Tricks On Me

    Naturally wrapped up with good doses of depression, paranoia, and regret...but this is definitely what pops up in my head first for music that reflects anxiety.

    Most fitting: For specifically the long-term slow burn that I think people usually mean when they describe anxious music, I might also throw in Godspeed You! Black Emperor's "Dead Flag Blues"

    Recent: Earl Sweatshirt - Nowhere2go

    Less obvious: Really I have a hard time recommending this just as a song because the entire recording is an incredible achievement in werid avant-folk free improv stuff, but Shoji Aketagawa, Kan Mikami & Toshiaki Ishizuka - Basara

    6 votes
    1. MarkusG Link Parent
      Came here looking for GY!BE. Personally I think East Hastings is more anxiety-inducing if that's what we're trying to capture.

      Came here looking for GY!BE. Personally I think East Hastings is more anxiety-inducing if that's what we're trying to capture.

      3 votes
  2. [10]
    Amarok (edited ) Link
    Oh, this will be fun. I've gotten a bit into the habit of collecting songs based on moods. I tend to like music that's got an unsettling element. I'm not going to list the genres, you get to be...

    Oh, this will be fun. I've gotten a bit into the habit of collecting songs based on moods. I tend to like music that's got an unsettling element. I'm not going to list the genres, you get to be surprised. Some are visceral, some are more about the lyrics.


    Edit: By the way, we've had two previous threads like this for topical track sharing. They weren't getting a lot of action. Music forums are uniquely slow starters for some reason. Guess the fact that someone other than me posted one means we should start them up again. :D

    This being Tildes and not reddit, those threads are of course still active, if folks want to start sharing more in them they'll bump. ;)

    5 votes
    1. [2]
      Whom Link Parent
      See, I listen to some of these and recognize that they're within the scope of what the word "anxiety" can mean and you're totally right for posting them, but it's interesting how disconnected they...

      See, I listen to some of these and recognize that they're within the scope of what the word "anxiety" can mean and you're totally right for posting them, but it's interesting how disconnected they are from that feeling for me. Like, I would never think to describe that Monophonics song or the one with the epilepsy warning as "anxious" in a million years. Makes you wonder where that disconnect is. Do we hear the songs differently? Is where we draw the line between anxiety and other feelings just different? Do we feel anxiety differently?

      I like getting a bit of perspective like this...reminds me that there's so many layers in between raw feeling and the way we communicate it...and even more between that and what the person on the other end compares it against.

      (Also thanks for linking that Monophonics track, gonna check that album out soon)

      5 votes
      1. Amarok (edited ) Link Parent
        I'll wager it's the lyrical element. I've noticed I take lyrics much, much further in my head than most people do. If the lyrics to a song aren't good on first listen, I'm done right there no...

        I'll wager it's the lyrical element. I've noticed I take lyrics much, much further in my head than most people do. If the lyrics to a song aren't good on first listen, I'm done right there no matter how good the music is. They can even override bad music for me. That Monophonics track to me sums up exactly what it's like to have some dark issue weighing on your mind that everyone keeps telling you is no big deal, but you can't let it go/get it out of your head. I get that just from the lyrics, not the music, and those lyrics make the music creepy to me. If that song had different lyrics I doubt I'd find it unsettling at all, just groovy.

        I can promise you won't be disappointed at all with the rest of their catalog, that band is excellent. ;)

        That Electric Circus Sideshow track is another good example of the same thing. The idea of some poor soul, utterly destroyed inside by consumerism, so devoid of human contact that he's willing to ramble into a broken telephone about all of his fears is rather horrifying. When I listen to that track I see some old man sitting alone in a falling-down old burned out house with boarded windows, no family, just two days away from a suicidal mental break. That picture in my head is the source of my anxiety when listening to the music, because I know there's someone out there in that situation - probably a lot of someones.

        This can go the other way too. I doubt Listener's incredible Ozark Empire would be half as unsettling without the claps, finger snaps and banging on a washing machine that make up the core of its instrumentation. That whole track is like a prelude to a panic attack, it's glorious.

        5 votes
    2. [2]
      Keegan Link Parent
      You weren't kidding. I don't have epilepsy, but I couldn't even bear to watch the video as it was making me anxious. Fits the topic very well. How did you find that song? It seems extremely niche...

      pyrapisme - un druide est giboyeux lorsqui'il se prend pour un neutrino (legit epilepsy warning)

      You weren't kidding. I don't have epilepsy, but I couldn't even bear to watch the video as it was making me anxious. Fits the topic very well.

      How did you find that song? It seems extremely niche to me. It's always interesting to see the interesting songs/bands people find.

      3 votes
      1. Amarok Link Parent
        I've been moderating /r/listentothis on reddit since it was two weeks old, for nearly ten years. It's for finding new and obscure artists, in any style/genre. My brain has sponged up quite a...

        I've been moderating /r/listentothis on reddit since it was two weeks old, for nearly ten years. It's for finding new and obscure artists, in any style/genre. My brain has sponged up quite a library of randomness from that place. Pryapisme was quite popular there one random month, mostly I think because of the memetic singularity in that video.

        3 votes
    3. [2]
      Dunic (edited ) Link Parent
      I noticed the older threads and thank you for trying to get them going. I wasn't trying to step on any toes and thanks again :) I was checking them out a couple days ago before I decided to start...

      I noticed the older threads and thank you for trying to get them going. I wasn't trying to step on any toes and thanks again :) I was checking them out a couple days ago before I decided to start this one.

      I'm hoping if this gets some participation (which I feel it has) to post a different emotion or idea every week. (Spoiler alert I'll probably do mindfulness or melancholy next week. I hope you provide another fantastic list sir/ma'am. I really enjoyed exploring what you posted tonight. Thank you.)

      1. Amarok Link Parent
        No worries, you're not stepping on anything but awesome music. Anyone should feel free to start those recurring threads, they aren't owned by any single user, they are more like traditions. Feel...

        No worries, you're not stepping on anything but awesome music. Anyone should feel free to start those recurring threads, they aren't owned by any single user, they are more like traditions. Feel free to take over stewardship of those threads and I'll try to pitch in whenever you post one to get them started.

    4. [3]
      ThatFanficGuy Link Parent
      How do you catalogue songs based on mood? How do you deal with one song causing a multitude of emotions?

      How do you catalogue songs based on mood? How do you deal with one song causing a multitude of emotions?

      1. [2]
        Amarok Link Parent
        I have multiple playlists on Spotify and folders in my mp3 collection, very loosely categorized by themes of lyrics/topic or mood. For songs that manage to hit multiple moods I just put them in...

        I have multiple playlists on Spotify and folders in my mp3 collection, very loosely categorized by themes of lyrics/topic or mood. For songs that manage to hit multiple moods I just put them in multiple playlists/folders. Their main purpose is to make sure I don't forget about those wonderful artists. I tend to go through so much music it's easy to lose songs sometimes.

        1 vote
        1. ThatFanficGuy Link Parent
          Folders never made sense to me; I was always looking for a more succinct method of categorization. In that sense, playlists are a much better idea. You only need one file, which you can...

          Folders never made sense to me; I was always looking for a more succinct method of categorization.

          In that sense, playlists are a much better idea. You only need one file, which you can selectively put wherever it fits. There's no need for overhead like multiple files, or external software to tag the tracks or otherwise overlay the basic structure.

          I should try that. Thanks for the suggestion.

          1 vote
  3. Diff Link
    Isaac Gracie - terrified gives off a pretty anxious vibe. Title probably gives that away. I love the song but I try to avoid listening to it too often. Both so I don't burn out on listening to it...

    Isaac Gracie - terrified gives off a pretty anxious vibe. Title probably gives that away. I love the song but I try to avoid listening to it too often. Both so I don't burn out on listening to it and because it gets me in the mood to overthink everything and I definitely don't need any help there. :P

    3 votes
  4. somewaffles Link
    Without a doubt, every song that Jeff Rosenstock has ever written. He does such a good job wrapping songs about anxiety and worry into an exciting, relatable package. His album Worry...

    Without a doubt, every song that Jeff Rosenstock has ever written. He does such a good job wrapping songs about anxiety and worry into an exciting, relatable package. His album Worry (appropriately named) is probably one of his best examples of it. Songs on that album to listen to if you don't have time for the entire thing: Festival Song, Wave Goodnight to Me, Blast Damage Days, Hellllhooooole, Perfect Sound Whatever. He's one of those artists I've found whose entire discography I am able to relate to in some way. I know some people have issues with his voice and the general punk aesthetic he gives off but if you can get past that, the guy is a musical genius.

    1 vote
  5. WolfmansBrother (edited ) Link
    I really like Anxiety by Jason Isbell. Might be a little on the nose but its still a great song

    I really like Anxiety by Jason Isbell. Might be a little on the nose but its still a great song

    1 vote
  6. masochist Link
    Lots of classical music just makes me extremely uneasy, even anxious. Something like Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto 2 really sets me on edge. I deeply enjoy a lot of other classical work,...

    Lots of classical music just makes me extremely uneasy, even anxious. Something like Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto 2 really sets me on edge. I deeply enjoy a lot of other classical work, especially e.g. Telemann's strings work, but a lot of later work--particularly in the Romantic / neo-classical eras--is just utterly unsettling to my ear. A lot of Philip Glass's work, for example, just does not work for me. Probably because of how modern / neo-classical composers interpret harmony differently from composers from earlier eras.