90s Songs Based on Mental Illness and Depression: Volume II

 

I published a list of 90s pop songs based on mental illness and depression earlier today.  I thought of a few more so I decided to make a second list.  Please enjoy.

 

Offspring, Self Esteem

This is a song about a man that stays in an emotionally abusive relationship with a woman because he has low self esteem.  During the bridge of the song he screams “The more I suffer, “The more you suffer means the more you really care, right?”  I have to admit that I’ve been in that head space.

 

Cypress Hill,  Insane in the Membrane

I don’t speak Spanish but thanks to Cypress Hill I know the Spanish word for crazy.  Insane in the Membrane is their most recognizable hit.  Their insanity is probably drug induced but insanity is a problem regardless of it’s cause.

 

Mary J. Blige, Not Gon’ Cry

Mary J. Blige had a lot of problems in the 90s.  I was debating on whether she belonged on this list or not because a broken heart is not quite the same as a mental problem.  But I love Mary and it’s my list so I decided to add her.  I wonder if Mary has ever met the guy from Offspring.  Perhaps they would get along.

 

Garbage, I’m Only Happy When it Rains

I remember this band and this song but it was never one of my favorites.  This is a little gift from You Tube suggestions.  But it’s perfect for this list and now that I’m listening to it I like it.  As the kids would say it’s a bop.  For the most part I’m a happy go lucky girl but I can identify with the sentiment of this song.  I personally enjoy a bit of internal drama.  It’s fun.  And I do love rain.

 

Way back when there was a band called Lords of the Underground.  I only remembered one song of their so I decided to do a bit of research on their song lyrics.  With a name like that I figured they were a little off and they made music expressing that.   I hit the jackpot.  Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you, “Psycho”.   No one has a video with lyrics uploaded to YT.

90s Songs Based on Mental Illness and Depression

 

The passing of Bushwick Bill of the Geto Boys made me think of the hip hop classic “My Mind is Playing Tricks on Me”.  I began to ponder if other 90s tunes were based on psychotic episodes.  I came up with a short list.  The list is random and not ranked.

Geto Boys, My Mind is Playing Tricks on Me

This is a cautionary tale that teaches that even when you’ve gotten away with wrongdoing you can’t escape the guilt and paranoia that your deeds brought about.

 

Blind Melon, No Rain

This is a perky and upbeat song about feeling stagnant in your life and depression.  Blind Melon’s lead singer Shannon Hoon died from a drug overdose in 1995.

 

Dr. Dre and Ice Cube, Natural Born Killas

This is a creepy song with the stand out lyric “Can’t be around my mama ’cause I scare her”.  It’s also a sweet vow to undying friendship and loyalty with the unforgetable lyric “I’m down for Dre like ACs down with OJ”.  I kind of want that to be a part of my wedding vows.

 

Green Day, Basketcase

This was my introduction to the Bay Area band Green Day circa 1995.  Green Day owns this genre.  They have other hits inspired by hopelessness and discouragement such as Longview and When I Come Around.  They’ve built a solid career in modern rock and have been going strong since the early nineties.  The band is still together and they are all still alive at the time this was written.

 

 

The Legacy of Martin Luther King

Martin Luther King is being honored today across the US.  MLK is a trending topic on social media, news outlets are rehashing stories about the Civil Rights movement and publicizing community events to honor the fallen leader.  Martin Luther King’s story is amazing and absolutely heroic.  But I feel like his legacy is being tarnished and Whitewashed.

Martin Luther King was a man that was beaten and imprisoned because of his protests against a tyrannical White supremacist government.  He was a Black man that fought for the rights of Black people and was surely motivated by concerns about the future of his own Black family.  He put everything on the line and died for his people. His movement was successful and created real and positive changes for Black Americans.

But we in America still live in a White supremacist, European centered culture.  Everything has to be not only accessible to Whites but centered around them.  That is made very clear by the historical retelling of MLK’s life.  He is said to be a man that wanted to bring the races together and bring about harmony in America.  He is also portrayed as a Confucius like figure.  I think that narrative is a lie to get White Americans to buy into his legacy.

First of all when you talk about race relations in America you need to think of hammers and nails.  Whites are the hammers.  Blacks are the nails.  The hammers like to act as though there is an ongoing disagreement between two parties on equal footing.  That has not been the case.  Blacks have been getting hammered since the origins of this country and the Civil Rights movement just asked to give Blacks a break.  Give them a shot at the chance to pursue happiness.

When mainstream media talks the accomplishments and goals of Dr. King they act as if he simply wanted Black and White people to hold hands and sing kumbaya together.  He was not the simpleton that history and the mainstream media make him out to be.  He was a freedom fighter for Black American people that had suffered centuries of oppression in the US.

He fought for displaced people that did not truly have a country of their own.  He fought for descendants of African slaves that were prisoners of this country.  Dr. King did not fight and die simply so Blacks could have White friends or land a date with a non Black person which is the story that is being sold across the world today through the American media and American public schools.

The same thing has happened to Nelson Mandela.  He was a brave freedom fighter that fought for Black people in South Africa and won basic rights.  Mandela is also being marketed as a Black man that dreamed of a rainbow nation and wanted to bring about so called racial reconciliation.  This version of history is a lot easier for White people to digest because they are not confronted with their own past.

Since Donald Trump was elected as president in the US I have observed that the media sympathizes with racist notions that affirm White supremacy.  The media typically portrays Whites as heroes or victims.  The stories of the Civil Rights movement can not be accurately told and still portray Whites as heroes or victims.  So the truth is being rewritten.

This disingenuous retelling of history is damaging to all Americans.  There is no way that White supremacist ideas will ever change if they are not confronted.  White Americans refuse to do the soul searching necessary to bring about the cultural changes necessary to bring about the racial reconciliation that they pay lip service to every year.

It’s also dangerous to Black people because it gives them the message that your prosperity lies in other communities.  Most African Americans do not really want to be independent from White tyranny and they don’t believe that Black communities can be self sufficient.  The bogus retelling of history reinforces the notion that Black people need other communities, especially Whites to survive.

I’m very unsure of what is being taught in American schools today.  But I urge everyone to seek out information on the American Civil Rights movement.  Remember to focus your attention of the Black community because those are primarily the people that stood up to American authoritarianism and made modest gains in order to improve their lives, communities and the futures of their children.  As a Black American woman I am grateful for their struggle.

Love Lies

My favorite genre of music is R & B.  The unfortunate thing about that is that it doesn’t really exist anymore unless you listen to older music.  Most of what passes for R & B these days are Hip Hop hybrids like Drake makes.  I enjoy Drake but he’s not real R & B to me.   His music doesn’t have any real soul.

R & B’s last stand was in the 1990s.  Acts like R. Kelly, Boys II Men, Faith Evans, Jodeci and many others were at the top of the pop charts.  R & B was all over the radio to the pure delight of music lovers.  Soul music was still a force in popular music in the early 2000s with artists like Jill Scott, Erykah Badu and Anthony Hamilton.  But pure soul has all but vanished from the pop scene.

pulse

But a pulse has been detected for modern R & B music.  There is an absolutely deliciously sexy, sultry tune on the pop charts now by two young song birds named Khalid & Normani.  Their hit song tells the story of the pivotal point in a romantic relationship where the pair tries to establish an understanding of their paramour’s intentions and true feelings.  The lyrics are tense because it’s a make or break moment that happens early on in a love affair.  The lovers may move towards true love or the moment of truth can end in heartbreak.
Khalid & Normani sing the sultry lyrics to “Love Lies” with pure, old fashioned soul.  There are no featured rappers on the track.  It’s a tale of modern romance told with throwback soul and sex appeal.  Congratulations to this duo for bringing back R & B to those of us that remember it and introducing it to a new generation.  I hope Khalid & Normani work together again.  They could be Peaches & Herb 2.0.

 

 

My Prince Memories – Shannon in Kansas City

I found out that Prince died on Thursday morning.  I was working in my restaurant and a customer told me the news.  I was absolutely shocked.  Prince hadn’t seemed to age in about fifteen years.  He seemed to be the picture of health to me.  Many people are thinking about retirement at age fifty seven but Prince seemed like a person that still had a lot of passion and things to accomplish.

I grew up listening to Prince’s music.  I remember when “1999” was a hit and it seemed so far off in the future.  I was eight or so.  I did the math and figured out that I would be twenty four in 1999.  I couldn’t even imagine myself at that age or what the future would be like.  Now I’m forty one and the year is 2016 and 1999 and being twenty four is a distant memory.

In the 1980s there was an urban legend that if you played a Prince record backward you would hear a satanic message.  I couldn’t resist giving it a try.  There was no message to be heard, just unintelligible words and ugly sounds.  I failed to summon the devil or any demonic spirits in my bedroom.  I can’t remember if I was relieved or disappointed.

“Purple Rain” was released when I was in the fourth grade.  I didn’t see the movie until many years later but I became familiar with it from my classmates.  They reenacted scenes from the movie on the playground and quoted the movie whenever they could work it into a conversation.  I do not remember when I actually saw the movie for myself but I thought it was awful.  The plot was weak and Prince was actually a terrible actor.  But the soundtrack was fantastic.  The movie was the star.

I remember when Prince decided to have a concert tour in the early 90s.  He came to the FOX theater in Detroit and I tried desperately to get tickets.  I think tickets went on sale at 10:00 a.m.  I arrived at the Harmony House at the local mall in the town where I lived at around 10:05 a.m. and the clerk told me that tickets were already sold out.  I was shocked but I was not going to be denied so easily.  I spent the rest of that day desperately trying to win tickets from the radio station.  I never got through so I gave up.

I’ve seen Prince in concert twice.  Both times it was in Kansas City, MO.  The first time I saw him at Municipal Auditorium downtown with a lady that I knew from my job at the time.  I wore a purple bobbed wig, a purple tank top and jeans.  I have a photograph of that ensemble somewhere but I haven’t taken the effort to locate it.  It was pretty sexy if I must say so myself.  Take my word for it.  The second time I saw him at Kemper Arena with my mom.

After missing out on the chance to see him in Detroit I jumped at the chance to buy tickets to a Prince show.  Both shows were fantastic.  He was a true musician and a purist.  His shows were simple.  His act didn’t involve magic tricks, pyrotechnics, or a dozen back up dancers.  I was just him and his incredibly talented band.

There is a Facebook meme that has been circulating that asks what your favorite Prince song is.  I was up until 3:00 a.m. Friday morning listening to his songs on my mp3 player.  I can’t decided.  I really can’t.  But I think I’m leaning toward “Raspberry Beret”.  I’ve always liked those lyrics.

I admire Prince’s creativity and passion.  He was incredibly accomplished and was ahead of his time.  He was 5’2″, wore high heels, ruffled shirts but had more masculine swagger than many, many men.  His music was sexy without being vulgar.  At least he wasn’t vulgar to me.  Prince seemed to be a man that loved, admired, respected and valued women and that makes the difference between sexy and vulgar.

Prince will be missed but we will have his music forever.  If the world survives another few centuries I wonder if his work will be among the ranks of Mozart, Beethoven or Tchaikovsky.  I hope so, his music is a sign of our times (pun intended).

“Life is just a party and parties weren’t meant to last.”