Ever just have one of those days where nothing goes as planned? I call those days “Murphy’s Law” days, so named because Murphy’s Law is the old adage “if anything can go wrong, it will go wrong.” I usually welcome them with a glass of Scotch and some mood lifting music. And when I say mood lifting, I mean those tracks that allow you to hammer the steering wheel while driving or encourage you to scream lyrics into the void. They are the tracks you believe are the audio equivalent to the non-stop emotional turbulence experienced when one thing goes wrong, time after time, again and again.
Here are my top five choices for “Murphy’s Law” type days. My suggestion: put them on a playlist, with some more of your favorite songs a la thrashing, and exorcise those bad-day demons.
Number One: “I Feel So” by Box Car Racer. Everything about this track combines to form the perfect bad day go-to. It opens with a piano, pitiful notes coming at a haphazard speed, until the entry of the guitar and drums. The switch from soft to loud reflects the unleashing of anger, something we have all experienced. The chaotic rhythm and repetitive chords help to develop a barely contained energy that creates a tension in the listener. The thing I love most about this track is the lyrics, though. Tom DeLonge expresses the wishes, hopes, and demented twists of fate that oftentimes stagger us. Being able to scream-sing the lyrics along with him, while appreciating the screeching guitars and atmospheric feed –back makes this a must have on any playlist designated to act as a catharsis. And if all else fails, singing “I feel so mad / I feel so angry / I feel so callous / so lost, confused, again” is a great way to release the pent up anger that slowly builds on Murphy’s Law days.
Number Two: “Bonus Mosh Pt. II” by Taking Back Sunday. This track is found on Where You Want to Be released in 2004. Taking Back Sunday has been a favorite of mine since high school. They acted as my release during those unpleasant high school years, and Adam Lazzara’s lyrics were often spot-on in describing my unkind thoughts and emotional turbulences. But for releasing pent up frustration and anger, this track has it all. It starts with a distorted guitar and chaotic rhythm section, adding a heavy quality without drowning out the vocalists. The whole track builds to what amounts, in my opinion, to one of the most epic take downs of lyrical history: “I wanted you for nothing more / than hating you for what you were / If that’s what you wanted to hear / I wanted you for nothing more / than hating you for what you were.”
Number Three: “Bloody Romance” by Senses Fail. This track is found on Senses Fail’s EP From the Depths of Dreams released in 2002. If you remember Drive-Thru Records, you have an idea of where this track may lead. Heavy distortion on guitar combined with epic 80s inspired riffs, introspective lyrics sung in lead vocalist Buddy Nielsen’s affecting voice, all combine to a tumultuous, and oftentimes heartbreaking, combustion of song. Rife with anger and emotive screams this track is perfect for any release of aggravation and incense. (In fact, the whole EP is perfect for this type of therapeutic liberation of emotion.) Listening to this track and I almost feel the side-swept bangs falling in my eyes and the black eye-liner reappearing. Best lyrics to scream along to? When Buddy repetitively sings, “forget my name,” because I am sure we’ve all felt the anger infused with that statement.
Number Four: “Seventy Times Seven” by Brand New. This track is found on 2001’s Your Favorite Weapon. Though these selections are meant for bad days, I will add a caveat to this choice and state that this is a good song when you are irreversibly angry at someone. The music sounds like typical early 2000s rock that combines pop elements to otherwise punk rock composition. What makes this track perfect for releasing anger are the lyrics sung during the bridge: “so, is that what you call a getaway / tell me what you got away with / cause I’ve seen more spine in jellyfish / I’ve seen more guts in eleven year old kids.” Jesse Lacey’s lyrics are art unto themselves, and are known to reflect rather dark thoughts and ideas, famously resulting in one of his fans approaching him after a CD release show and asking, “Dude, are you okay?”
Number Five: “Here We Are Juggernaut” by Coheed and Cambria. Found on 2010’s Year of the Black Rainbow, this track has classic Coheed elements, like Claudio’s vocals, story-board lyrics, and chaotic rhythm sections. It’s heavy from the beginning, though, with a sped-up, double-time meter and distorted guitar. Claudio sounds more ominous during the entirety of the track, evoking an almost panicked and angered response. This choice is particularly useful for release of tension and anger through physical means. The tempo allows for listeners to drum along and thrash about. The vocals are also perfect for releasing pent up frustrations. Attempting to mimic Claudio’s impressive form can sometimes lend to screaming out the lyrics rather than singing, which aids in therapeutic release.