This article was originally published on Popjuice.
With the pandemic (and quarantine) forcing people to spend more time indoors, mental health becomes more salient on our agenda. I don’t know about you, but music has been a source of therapy for me during this time and it has been a joy to find songs about mental health, along with its many intricacies. So, in light of World Mental Health Day 2020, let’s look at some of the artists behind these new releases.
1. Baby Queen
Serving spunk, sass and candor, Baby Queen is a South African-born, London-based musician who is unafraid to flip the script on mental health. On the tongue-in-cheek ‘Medicine’, she reveals her relationship with antidepressants and how they help her navigate the world. And with an EP of the same name coming out in November, expect to see Baby Queen take her songs about mental health further into the pop world.
2. ROLE MODEL
Having worked with fellow up-and-comers like BENEE and Julia Michaels, ROLE MODEL is the moniker of 23-year-old Tucker Pillsbury, whose songs sound like sunshine on a Sunday morning. On his latest, ‘going out’, he talks about not wanting to be out and about because his “mood is always movin’ south”, a relatable line for days that we just want to be away from the world.
3. Easy Life
Despite sounding like a laidback summer anthem, Easy Life’s ‘Nightmares’ is anything but. The song tackles topics like insomnia, anxiety and societal pressure as lead singer Murray Matravers sings about the cliche of being told that his nightmares are nothing to worry about. The equally colorful music video is a visual treat that sees him take a trip down a hospital hallway over and over again.
4. Alexander 23
A clever play on words, Alexander 23’s latest ‘Brainstorm’ draws parallels between mental health and the weather. “How bad’s the weather in your head?” the 25-year-old singer hailing from Chicago asks. Similar to contemporaries Lauv and Jeremy Zucker, Alexander 23 is no stranger to the topic of mental health, often being vocal about his own personal struggles.
Rising indie star mxmtoon doesn’t shy away from talking about mental health. The raw ‘seasonal depression’ features the lyrics “Seasonal depression’s got me sleeping off the days / And I’ve wasted all my time feeling grey” and assures the listener that it’s perfectly alright to feel a little down.
6. Ashton Irwin
Best known for being the resident drummer of Australian band 5 Seconds of Summer, Ashton Irwin is carving his own path in 2020. Incidentally, his first solo single touches on body image and eating disorders, topics that are not frequently talked about, especially among men. The jarring music video brings this to life with Irwin confronting his inner demons.
Wrabel has been supplying the sadbangers as early as 2016’s ’11 Blocks’, but with ‘happy people’, he doesn’t hold back. On the melodramatic track, he sings about wanting to be “one of those happy people” and wanting more in life despite seemingly already having everything.
As being open about one’s mental struggles becomes increasingly normalized, more and more artists have started conversations through their songs. On this World Mental Health Day, let’s remember to be kind to one another, and be sensitive to the fact that we all have more struggles than meets the eye. For mental health resources, you can refer to this list here.
Feature image by Raphael Cheong