In light of yesterday’s events, I needed to find a way to not only help others in the office through what was affecting them, but also escape what was threatening to overwhelm me. It’s fine to be the rock in these situations, but as I’ve learned over the years, I eventually need to find time to process and grieve. Everyone has their own coping mechanisms, but this is where music and writing enter the fray for me. A few years ago, while writing my self-published short story The Longest Walk, I stumbled upon a few musical selections that have served me well when dealing with death or loss in general.
The first influence for coping was Sting’s Soul Cages. The album is celebrating its 25th anniversary which is scary in and of itself. It’s dark, moody, nautically themed, and somewhat dramatic as it addresses the aspects of his childhood and the death of his father. All of the songs resonate with me on various levels, but perhaps none as much as the instrumental, St. Agnes and the Burning Train. It’s short, bittersweet, and reminds me how life can far too often be.
The second influence for coping is Beck’s Sea Change. While the title might suggest another nautically themed album, that’s not the case. Beck is subdued and introspective, heart-broken and solitary, but absolutely wonderfully raw. If you can’t feel this album, you may need to seek out a therapist to see if there’s something wrong. Once again, there are so many terrific tracks on this album, but the one that truly stands out is the opening track The Golden Age. His use of acoustic guitar, slide guitar, chimes, and ambient sounds paint a sublimely sardonic musical landscape.
A new arrival on the musical coping scene is the latest from Eric Prydz. His album, Opus, dropped on Feb. 5 and the song Liberate is a stark musical difference from the aforementioned albums. It still maintains the water theme from a video standpoint, but what speaks to me is the song’s only lyric, “Don’t break now, the world’s locked out. Just close your eyes and we can push them all away.”
It’s simple. It’s reaffirming, It’s necessary at this point in time.