1. Black-Eyed Dog – Nick Drake
The ‘black dog’ is a famous metaphor for depression (famously used by Winston Churchill), and Nick Drake draws on this metaphor in his melodic masterpiece. Haunting strings and a soulful voice.
2. I See a Darkness – Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy
Covered by the legend that is Johnny Cash, I still prefer Will Oldham’s original. I don’t know how to describe this song or the significance it has for me. ‘My best unbeaten brother[s]’, please listen to this song. Turn the light off, press play and feel your spirit moved.
3. Where Is My Mind? – Pixies
‘With your feet in the air and your head on the ground’…
4. Glittering Cloud, Imogen Heap
From an album inspired by the Biblical Plagues, Heap’s glittering cloud of locusts appears to be her own self-destruction, an impulse she can’t control: ‘I’m not always like this, it’s something I become’. She pleads: ‘Save me from my self, before I hurt somebody else again’.
5. Hope There’s Someone, Anthony and the Johnsons
Anthony’s voice carries an overwhelming mix of both great beauty and great pain. Listen and feel your heart break into pieces and then be stuck back together with lyrical swoops that remind you that you are not the only one who has ever been there.
6. Comfortably Numb – Pink Floyd
The sirens, the echoes, the synthesizers, the guitar solo, and the LYRICS: ‘I can’t explain/You would not understand/ This is not how I am/ I have become comfortably numb’. I quite like the Scissor Sister’s dance tune cover, and the upbeat tempo provides an interesting contrast to the lyrics. Still, you can’t beat Pink Floyd’s original, fusing big guitars with big emotions.
7. These Are Your Friends, Adem
‘Everybody needs some help sometimes’. True dat.
8. Sleep the Clock Around, Belle & Sebastian
‘And the moment will come when composure returns’. But until then, we can listen to Belle & Sebastian’s marvelous story-songs.
9. (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction – Rolling Stones
A classic song, which could easily be about clinical depression. For a more soulful version, check out Cat Power’s cover.
10. I Don’t Like Mondays – Boomtown Rats