Music, Personal

A playlist to soothe an anxious mind

Anyone who knows me well knows there’s two constants in my life; music and anxiety!

Mood and music can heavily influence each other; if I am feeling particularly low on self-confidence and don’t want to leave the house, Tove Lo and Dua Lipa can hype me up for a night out.  If I am feeling sad and just want to wallow it in for a while, Daughter and Billie Martin will be put on rotation. A bit of Two Door Cinema Club and Zak Abel will put me in the best mood in the morning.

As someone who suffers from anxiety, there are times when my head can feel fit to explode and the physical panic feels insurmountable. At these times, there are a number of songs that help to slow down both my breathing and my brain, and give me a sense of calm. I thought I’d share some of them with you today.


Weight of Your World – Roo Panes

Any Roo Panes song would be a good bet for soothing the mind, but this one is my personal favourite. Almost a lullaby in nature, Panes is attempting to soothe and reassure someone in this song, asking them to sleep, remember that tomorrow’s a new day, and that all will be alright. The chorus is an assurance that all they’ve to do is ask and he will be there to “take the weight of your world, from your shoulders, girl.” Maybe we can’t all call up Roo Panes, but it’s a profoundly beautiful way to reassure yourself that this will all pass, and in the meantime, there’s someone there to listen.

“Nothing can get you
You know I’ve got you
You’re in my arms”


Birdsong – George Ogilvie

If ‘Weight of Your World’ is a song reaching out to someone suffering, ‘Birdsong’ is the sufferer reaching out. Ogilvie is longing for a feeling of hope, something other than this “darkness” that covers his eyes. That feeling of hopelessness, of darkness, is sure to be familiar to anyone struggling with anxiety or depression, but the song is not without light. Ogilvie looks to the birds and promises to follow their song, “Til I find my way back home.”

“This feeling of hope
Is something I want to hold
So I’ll follow the birdsong
‘Til I find my way back home”


Secret For The Mad – Dodie

Youtuber and singer-songwriter Dodie Clark said she wrote this song for a friend and for anyone who might feel like she did (the artist has spoken openly about her struggle with depression and depersonalisation). “Your bad brain will tell you lies,” she said, “Listen to the part that tells you it will get better.” It is reassuring to hear someone on the other side tell you that what you are going through is surmountable, and you will not feel like this forever.

“There will be a day
When you can say you’re okay and mean it
I promise you, it’ll all make sense again
I promise you, it’ll all make sense again”


Cucurucu – Nick Mulvey

This song was adapted from a poem called Piano by D.H. Lawrence. The imagery painted in the opening verse is warm and nostalgic, a child being sung to by his mother. Oftentimes, anxiety can make us feel weak and childlike, there’s something comforting in hearing Mulvey sing out “I weep like a child for the past.” Ultimately, it’s a beautiful song that makes us indulge in our longing to be cared for and feel a little less alone.

“Softly, in the evening dusk, a woman is singing to me
She takes me back down the vista of my years, until I see
I see a child underneath the piano, in the boom of the tingling strings
Pressing the poised feet of his mother who smiles at him as she sings
Cucurucu, cucurucu…”


Tomorrow Will Be Kinder – The Secret Sisters

This simple but stunning song featured on the Hunger Games soundtrack a couple of years ago. The American duo sing here about a day full of sadness and pain, when you don’t know “where to start.” But, rest assured, they say, for tomorrow will be kinder, and it’s true, because you’ve seen it before. Another tune that will be kind to both your ears and your brain.

“Sorrow weighs my shoulders down
And trouble haunts my mind
But I know the present will not last
And tomorrow will be kinder.”


Up & Up – Coldplay

When you’ve had your fill of wallowing, Coldplay’s Up & Up is a good one to finish on. It’s comforting and uplifting, and I am lucky enough to say when I hear it now it reminds me of singing it in a crowd of thousands at Croke Park. It’s worth putting “Up & Up Coldplay Glastonbury” into Youtube and watching the band perform it live with the help of Chris Martin’s kids, and a crowd of thousands, who all sing together;

“We’re gonna get it, get it together
I know, we’re gonna get it, get it together and flow
We’re gonna get it, get it together and go
Up, and up, and up.”


You can listen to my anxiety playlist (with the above tracks and more) on Spotify.

Music, Opinions

This Week In New Music: Oh Wonder, Coldplay & Vance Joy

Ultralife – Oh Wonder (Album)


The eagerly awaited second album from London pop-duo & couple Josephine Vander Gucht and Anthony West was released last Friday. To be honest with you, I haven’t been listening to it much – nothing’s gripped me. But I was the exact same with their last album, it just grew on me over time. Ultralife is very much the same as their debut, maybe a little bit more upbeat, so long-time fans of the duo will no doubt find plenty to love here.

Kaleidoscope – Coldplay (EP)


For those of you who find yourself saying “I preferred Coldplay’s older stuff” this EP might be just what you were looking for. All I Can Think About Is You, Aliens & Hypnotized have serious Parachutes/X&Y era vibes. Miracles (Something Special) is catchy & the live version of Something Just Like This has massive feel good factor, especially if you were lucky enough to catch them on tour. The EP is a perfect example of a band returning to their roots while embracing the new.

Lay It On Me – Vance Joy (Single)


After three long years, Vance Joy of “Riptide” fame is back! The leading single off Joy’s forthcoming second album has got a gorgeous rousing chorus that has the Australian begging someone to “lay it all on me now.” Perfect for radio play and festival crowds, I can’t wait to see what else Vance Joy has up his sleeve with his new album expected to be released later this year.

Music, Opinions

A kaleidoscope of colours, a head full of dreams

If you’re reading this you probably already know that I am a massive music fan. I look forward to Friday’s for the new releases, all my money is spent on gig tickets and I put aside hours every month to write album reviews despite the fact only one or two people will actually read them. Music has had such a positive impact on my life in so many ways. It’s given me some of my closest friends, it’s helped me stave off panic attacks, get through a workout or ignore drunk old men on public transport.

My iTunes library and monthly Spotify playlists must contain hundreds of artists from a range of genres, and I appreciate them all, but there’s a few artists that are particularly special to me. I guess they came into my life at a good time. Seeing them perform live is as high up on my bucket list as any life goal. Gradually I’ve ticked most of them off; Taylor Swift, Hudson Taylor (multiple times..), The Civil Wars.. last night I got to tick off Coldplay.

For me, and for many, many others, Coldplay are simply one of a kind. There is no other band who have written music suitable for my early morning, commute, workout, pre-drinks, house party & late night playlists. Parachutes is a stunning acoustic album that has aided sleep for me on many occasions, A Rush Of Blood To The Head has done just that as I headbanged around the room unable to hear my brother yelling at me to turn it down next door, X & Y  gave us the iconic ‘Fix You’ while Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends provided that “oh oh oh oh ohhhhh ohhh” that has echoed through stadiums across the world, there was the emotive and euphoric Mylo Xyloto and the heartbreaking Ghost Stories, and finally A Head Full of Dreams which ventured into the club scene.

They’re a divisive band (like any great band is) but more than any other one of my favourite artists, I genuinely feel sorry for those who don’t appreciate Coldplay. Last night they brought the “A Head Full of Dreams” tour to Croke Park, they left having fulfilled dreams some of us never even knew we had.  Dreams of rainbow confetti and sparkling fireworks, kaleidoscopic lighting and multi-coloured balloons, a psychedelic world of sound and colour where every single one of us played a role.

It didn’t matter whether you were on the pitch or high up in the stands like I was, it was a haze of singing and screaming and jumping and crying and turning to your friend with a look that said, “is this really happening?” It was a night for the child inside of all of us, for undiluted happiness and unashamed delight. It was couples holding hands during “Us Against The World” and Chris Martin sprinting down the stage as rainbow ticker tape exploded from all sides, it was a disabled man being crowdsurfed to the stage and 80,000 people singing “Don’t Look Back In Anger” for Manchester, it was “going low” and jumping high and singing “lights will guide you home” in a sea of orange as the sun set.

There’s so many more words to say but all I can think of is thank you.

To Chris, Jonny, Guy and Will – thank you.



Photo credit to @niamh_tierney