THE 10 BEST SONGS ABOUT BEING CRAZY
It’s very hard out there. With a near constant barrage of outside sources challenging your well being, it’s no wonder that the majority of us feel mentally unwell. From rent, bills, taxes, the healthcare industry, government snafus, exes getting engaged on Instagram all happy like why do you still feel so lost when they can feel such joy, weather, etc. there are so many external factors at stake toward our mental health every day-- not to mention the internal ones, that some of us are just hard-wired to feel ways that we’re not psyched to be feeling. The black fog hanging over our heads JUST BECAUSE-- fuck off depression!!!
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMi.org), 1 in 5 U.S. Adults experience mental illness every year.
That is approximately ([insert one of those old school Geocities counters that show how many people have visited the site] / 5) of you out there reading this. That statistic alone is absolutely batshit bananas. To quote Norman Bates at the end of Psycho, misquoting the Mad Hatter from Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, “We all go a little mad sometimes.”
Now imagine this on a global scale. Not only are you feeling a little off, a little crazy, mad, cuckoo, mental, but you’re also responsible for dropping a new album every year for the remainder of your music career. The cracks are going to start to show, especially those singing about real shit and not just about how you like big butts and you cannot lie.
So let’s give our musicians a break when they have breakdowns, post cancelled tour statuses due to mental health, or just sing their heart out about being generally unwell. You give yourself breaks when you’re feeling a little crazy, so why not them too?
We at We Are: The Guard have compiled ten of our favorite songs about being crazy. While many of these are playful takes on a world gone wrong, we know this is a serious issue.
Next time your favorite lead singer screams about “losing their mind,” maybe we all ought to listen.
GREEN DAY - BASKET DAY
Is Green Day’s “Basket Case” the first time a song ever used the word shrink? Feels like something Paul Simon or Randy Newman would have done before 1993, but I’m unable to find proof anywhere on the internet. There’s no database for the first time words were used in song lyrics, but maybe we’re onto something with that idea. NOBODY STEAL IT. Billie Joe Armstrong has been maladjusted since day one, but Green Day really came out of the gate swinging with their first single’s music video set in a mental institution. Green Day might have felt like they were losing their minds, but this song sure made a lot of angry, young punk rockers feel sane.
THE TALKING HEADS - PSYCHO KILLER
The Talking Heads were always masters of the weird. But a song from the perspective of a serial killer? That’s a whole nother level. Here, David Byrne and co. take perspective from inside the skin of a man unhinged. The question is-- is it that man’s skin, or just the skin suit he’s wearing? This one feels directly inspired by the serial killer wave of the late seventies and early eighties. Are the Talking Heads channeling Bundy / Gacy / Dahmer for this? Why the hell are they speaking French? I don’t know!
TEARS FOR FEARS - MAD WORLD
To feel like you’re the only one who has any feelings at all in the rat race is one of the most crazy-inducing feelings in the world. How come I’m the only one sad? Is everybody else just a cog in the wheel taking things as they come? Walking around like there aren’t all sorts of problems in our face every single day. I know that we live in a mad world and Tears for Fears sure know it too, but what the hell is wrong with all those people that have a smile on their face all the time. Are we the crazy ones? Or are they?
PIXIES - WHERE IS MY MIND
Starting with a scream, a stop and a record scratch-- The Pixies make sure that everyone who ever hears this song is one who has (at least figuratively) gone off their rocker. The idea of a head collapsing, and asking the void “where is my mind?” is one that’s incredibly easy to relate to. Sometimes our bodies and our minds have different agendas, and we need to search around a little bit for the ol’ noggin like a lost pair of glasses. don’t know if the Pixies were writing from the perspective of properly out of their minds as much as temporarily. Float back to Earth and catch up with yourself, but sometimes it’s good to let the mind go on a little vacation.
OZZY OSBOURNE - DIARY OF A MAD MAN
I mean Ozzy bit the head off a bat live on stage. Dude is certifiable batshit. Pun-- intended? So when he says “Diary of a Madman” we totally believe it’s actually from the perspective of an absolute lunatic. No icon in the history of rock and roll has been quite as out there as the Ozzman. We could have went with Black Sabbath’s “Paranoid” or “Crazy Train,” but we’re partial to those Randy Rhoads guitar parts. It’s like two madmen-- one singing and one on the battleaxe.
KANYE WEST - I LOVE KANYE
CLASSIC Narcissistic Personality Disorder.
KING CRIMSON - 21ST CENTURY SCHIZOID MAN
Am I absolutely out of my mind or are there THREE drummers on stage for this one? Is complexity something that drives us to insanity? If so, then consider King Crimson lords of the looneys. Maybe this one comes from Kanye sampling it on “Power,” but we like to think the original has its own power too. When Robert Fripp drops in the “21st Century Schizoid Man” it’s so simple to feel like it could be each and every one of us he’s talking about. After all, that is what it feels like to live in this day and age surrounded by insanity at all times. Something along the lines of freeform jazz-inspired prog-rock improv fusion. If that doesn’t drive you nuts, I don’t know what will.
NICK CAVE AND THE BAD SEEDS - O’MALLEY’S BAR
Nick Cave is one dark dude. He took the idea of the Talking Heads’s “Psycho Killer” and ramped it up to Texas Chainsaw Massacre levels of brutality. “O’Malley’s Bar” is a fourteen minute narrative nightmare about a man going into a bar and killing everyone there. It’s as miserable as it sounds and we don’t blame you if you don’t make it all the way through. That being said, we’d be remiss not to discuss the idea of mass shootings as a major mental health issue. This isn’t something that can be joked about or put to the side and ignored. We need to face this head on. Sorry for the bummer, but it’s really Nick Cave’s fault.
SUICIDAL TENDENCIES - INSTITUTIONALIZED
And then sometimes it can be oh so simple. “All I wanted was a Pepsi. Just one Pepsi.” At its core this one is about being young and feeling like nobody understands you. ESPECIALLY not your parents (this one would pair quite well with Will Smith and DJ Jazzy Jeff’s “Parents Just Don’t Understand”). It’s so easy to feel crazy as burgeoning adults not allowed to just live their lives. Sometimes just wanting a Pepsi can make you feel like you’re as crazy as it gets.
BEYONCE - CRAZY IN LOVE
Who says that being crazy has to be a bad thing? What about the positives? Those times where we’re so manic on something good in our lives that we want to run naked through the streets and shout from the top of rooftops. Love is the perfect example. When you’re really feeling it you can feel out of your goddamn mind. Beyoncé and Jay-Z were fresh in love on this track (long before all the infidelity Lemonade drama) and boy is it infectious. I don’t know if we’re ever going to recover from this one.
From deep within the murky depths of the Los Angeles River emerged a creature: 50% raver, 50% comedian, 10% Robotcop. Kurt Kroeber doesn’t own a dog, operates Soundbleed (the world’s only dance party comedy talk show rave), and is down to party with you. Come up some time and say “Hey dude!” But definitely make sure to casually drop the secret Illuminati password.