|Photo by: Katie O'Leary (illustration)|
Music captures a feeling that can’t be explained by words. In an instant, the best of musicians sum up emotions that countless others have tried and failed to capture. A numbness of the mind that leaves you enticed with the afterthoughts of lullabies and drugs, or whatever the song entails.
From the birth of rock music to future generations to come, music has provided a place for your mind to be on auto-pilot, and the only thing left for you to worry about is getting that cigarette in your hand lit. If you’re in the mood for an escape from reality, whether it be for hours or minutes, here are some songs to sink your teeth into.
1. “Hurt” by Nine Inch Nails
The electronic whirr that begins this melody of a junkie leaves your mind in a state most of us can only speculate on. With Trent Reznor’s storied past of heroin addiction, he has openly admitted that this song was written about one of the darkest times in his life. While the song may be depressing, the intro puts your mind in a state of numb like only Reznor can understand.
2. “Sleeping Lessons” by The Shins
This slumber enthused track off of the indie-pop obelisk Wincing the Night Away takes your mind to the world of dreams in instants. With the slowly rising sounds of the first seconds and James Mercer’s voice serenading the mind, it’s hard not to consider napping for the next day or two. Make sure to set an alarm so you don’t miss your afternoon class.
3. “Life Magazine” by Cold Cave
This electro-pop anthem of late keeps the static bumping and the mind flowing. The almost eerie echo to the vocals gives off a perfect contrast to the repetitive backbeat. If you’re looking for something to dance to in this line-up, this would be your best bet.
4. “Great DJ” by The Ting Ting
Okay, so maybe this is the one to dance to. Keeping an upbeat rhythm with their vocals and guitar riffs, The Ting Tings take a vowel and turn it into a chorus. The double tracking of a male and female voice give the vocals an extra kick, though Katie White definitely dominates in this song. The vocals don’t accentuate the energy of the instruments, but it will have your senses shaking in less than three and a half minutes.
5. “Million Things” by Cloud Cult
This early song from Cloud Cult almost perfectly puts into words an argument between lovers. With the repetitive notion of unaccomplished goals, Craig Minnowa’s vocals turn to static confessions about halfway through the song. This is Minnowa at probably his most spiteful lyrically, which can get a little awkward with his wife painting pictures onstage with him. Be thankful I spared you of “Song of the Deaf Girl,” Cloud Cult’s minute and a half track of pure white noise.
6. “Clairaudients (Kill or Be Killed)” by Bright Eyes
This shiver inducing track from 2007 takes what sounds like a phone conversation involving the city of Cassadaga, Florida (Cassadaga being the title of the album), home of mediums and spirit talkers. The conversation fades in and out of instrumental white noise provided by a plethora of great musicians. Halfway through the song, Conor Oberst’s voice sets off a speculated reply to 2002’s “Let’s Not Shit Ourselves (To Love and Be Loved)."
7. “Shakin’ All Over” by Johnny Kidd and the Pirates
Recorded in 1960s UK, the static is expected. Although this hit was recorded almost 50 years ago, the sound is as timeless now as it was then. With a great guitar lick throughout the song, and a “shaking” effect made by a cigarette lighter on guitar strings, this song will have you listening to it over and over again. If you’re lucky, you might catch Athens locals Duke Jr. and the Smokey Boots covering it around town.
8. “Girl is On My Mind” by The Black Keys
This song off of The Rubber Factory perfectly captures the sound of The Black Keys. The blues-rock duo out of Akron has gained attention since its debut album, The Big Come Up, but has skyrocketed as of late with their hit album, Brothers. The song itself gives the perfect mix of distortion and blues, keeping the rhythm to Dan Auerbach’s emotional discourse regarding the female persuasion. Many of Cleveland/Akron natives can remember when The Black Keys were nothing more than an Akron bar band in the early ‘00s. They have come a long way in a short time, and have the love of most of Ohio behind them
9. “My Doorbell” by The White Stripes
With Jack White’s vocal range not straying too far on this song and the rustic piano and music video, this song feels like it’s out of a generation past. The modern day rock legend will have you singing along to his chorus in seconds. A master of the instruments, this song won’t soon be out of your head.
10. “Tomorrow Never Knows” by The Beatles
This 1966 Lennon/McCartney masterpiece from the album Revolver tells you to “Turn off your mind / Relax and float downstream.” With all sorts of backwards guitar riffs and double-tracking it is nothing short of psychedelic. Treating your mind like a television set they are able to flip your world upside down without you even lifting a finger.
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