While it’s been widely known that Gen Z has dealt with traumatic events through humor, it does not mean that the events that have played out over the last few months are being taken lightly by teens. While teens may mask their fear in 160 characters on Twitter, as screen times tick through the roof, for us internet natives, it is especially terrifying. When trading school time for screen time, we have many more hours to contemplate life and our future. It’s a scary time for everybody and I can only hope that it will bring forth a new era of social awareness and compassion. But in the meantime, if you have nothing better to do, put on some of these hits.
The Beatles – “Strawberry Fields Forever”
From the Beatles’ 1967 psychedelic album, “Magical MysteryTour,” Lennon drones on lethargically in the chorus:
Nothing is real and nothing to get hung about,
Strawberry Fields Forever”
Then he speaks about the nature of the world in a pretty nihilistic way, the first verse:
“Misunderstanding all you see
It’s getting hard to be someone, but it all works out
It doesn’t matter much to me”
Main Idea: Nothing is real, we are not real, and that’s okay. Strawberry fields forever!
Vince Staples – “Party People”
At surface level, this 2017 banger is a party anthem made for dancing. However, when you listen to the lyrics, it carries a much darker message.
In the pre-chorus he builds the song by asking an existential question:
“How I’m supposed to have a good time
When death and destruction’s all I see?”
Only to come to the false conclusion that:
“Good vibrations is all I need
All I need, all I need”
Main idea: The world is falling apart but we vibin’
Tyler The Creator – Boredom
In his wildly popular 2017 album, “Flower Boy,” Tyler resonates with quarantined kids across the world in his second verse:
“I’ve been in this f*ckin’ room so long
My eyeballs are turning to drywall”
He follows this theme in his third verse where he claims:
“Ringy dingy dong, I can’t be alone
I been starting to feel like I don’t know anyone
So now I’m staring at my ceiling f*ckin’ blowing
Like I have no idea where I’m going”
Main Idea: This quarantine is bringing out the boredom and loneliness in us all.
T.Rex – “Life is Strange”
In T.Rex’s 1973 album Tanx, T. Rex delivers a haunting slow groove. With a repeated chorus that applies now more than ever.
“Strange, life is strange, life is strange
Oh life is strange”
Main idea: Life is strange.
Fleetwood Mac – “Seven Wonders”
In Fleetwood Mac’s final album recorded as a band, the album’s second track, written by Stevie Nicks and Sandy Stewart in 1986, the two dreamily wish to see the wonders of the world.
“If I live to see the seven wonders
I’ll make a path to the rainbow’s end
I’ll never live to match the beauty again”
And we can’t help but agree.
Main Idea: Please let us out of the house, I forgot what the outside looks like.
Harry Styles – “Sign of the Times”
In his first solo album, the former one direction member gives a passionate piano ballet, that is oddly comforting:
“Just stop your crying, it’s a sign of the times”
In the second verse he continues this encouraging theme:
“Remember everything will be alright
We can meet again somewhere
Somewhere far away from here.”
Main idea: Stop crying, we will leave the house eventually.
Funkadelics – “Maggot Brain”
Any Funkadelic fan knows this instant classic when it dropped in 1971. After a 10-minute and 21-second guitar solo, by Eddie Hazel, George Clinton starts the song with an eerie premonition:
“Mother Earth is pregnant for the third time
For y’all have knocked her up
I have tasted the maggots in the mind of the universe
I was not offended
For I knew I had to rise above it all
Or drown in my own shit”
Main Idea: Are we drowning in our own sh*t as a society? Has our abuse of the earth manifested into this tragic event? Much to think about…
Either way, this time is undoubtedly scary and unprecedented, We should try to find joy wherever it will lend itself. So if you can’t shake this feeling of existential worry, relish it for a while, but don’t let it consume you. In the words of Harry Styles himself: “Stop your crying baby, we’ll be alright” … probably.