FIVE SONGS which help end a stressful week

During the first few issues of Browse Magazine, of which are now in double figures, I had a regular feature which involved summarising the music festivals of the summer in 5 songs.

This week I do aim to review an album, which could be summed up in my top 5 songs. But I can’t face writing for work yet – whether it be a lesson plan for my paid occupation or an article for my freelance work of which this funds.

At the end of this work, the only music I want to listen to will do one of two things: allow me to wallow a little or to perk me up.

It’s been a stressful week. When Hull Fair is in town, all teachers feel it. Before the first ride is uncovered, before the first stretch of tarmac is laid, and even before the first child has come running up to ask that ever-important question – “Are you going to Hull Fair?” – we feel it. It’s a stress which starts to bubble and churn, causing terrible indigestion and a desire to bring back all forms of horrific punishments from the dark-ages of teaching. There’s been other stuff on top of that, creating a inedible layered cake of frustration, anger and disbelief.

So, I thought I’d give you, my readers, a taste of my sweet relief. Music has always been a go-to tool for calming. As a teenager my mother mocked me, as I seemed to only play heavy metal when I had a headache. But it worked, so I did it.

Today, my stress playlist looks somewhat like this:

1. I’ll start with something which allows the stress and anger to seethe. I need to wallow just a little longer, to ensure that everything has had a chance to come to the surface. You must face your problems, even if it’s in a dark room with only the laptop on as you scroll for the perfect tune.

A rather new addition to my collection, but a perfect one. Even if it’s just so I have an excuse to swear loudly as I sing along.

2. Secondly, a traditional song for me as I’ve played this for over a decade during stressful situations. Every argument I had with my father resulted in me grabbing this CD and hiding in my room.

Grace Slick’s album Dreams has many wonderful songs, mostly about getting really high on drugs. Perhaps that’s why I have never needed to use recreational drugs in order to ‘get away from it all’, as I let others’ experiences cast me off into an imaginary trip.

It was difficult to select a song from the album. Admittedly, I usually play the title song. But the lyrics of this song are much more ideal.

3. Now, I’ll need to bring myself out of the wallowing stage. I’m a master of dragging myself out of the quicksand; never letting myself sink too far. This stage requires something a little angry but a little dancey and fun. So, I’ll always turn to some of the popular ‘emo pop’ tunes of the early Noughties.

Often when I think of Fall Out Boy, I think of This Ain’t A Scene… as it’s a favourite song my best friend and I share. However, I’m not ready to laugh yet. I’m just starting to feel better, and I need to scream a dancey song, not necessarily dance to it.

4. Now, I’m ready to dance. You need to start distressing by screaming and shouting. Then, you need to shake it off. So, I get the ska out. And my favourite ska band? Hull’s wonderful Counting Coins.


5. You know what’s missing from this collection of 5 songs? Some Manics! I’d possibly start with one of their darker tunes if I hadn’t begun with Frank Turner. So, I shall end with a song which is so fuelled by memories that it neither happy nor sad. I am at equilibrium of emotion, having both wallowed and danced, and now I’m ready to simply listen to the tunes and enjoy the music.

Besides, James Dean Bradfield’s voice is enough to cure any sorrow. And I love the video to this song.

I feel better already.


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