Arts Vanity: My musical playlists as stages of bipolarity | Arts

“I hate being bipolar, it’s awesome” – Kanye West.

Like most things Kanye says and does, this quote sounds both ridiculous and pretentious, but deeply and weirdly profound at the same time. From models with bleached assholes (1:10 “Father, stretch out my hands, Pt 1.”) to conversations with Jesus about who is the highest (2:22 “I am a God”), Yeezus has often raised awareness to bipolar disorder through the comedic shock value of his music.

Now I am well aware that having bipolar disorder is no joke. Depression lows and manic highs suck, and being in between is even worse. But there’s no need to sweep it under the rug or talk about it behind closed doors: those two things only make it that much harder to live with. Instead, this artistic conceit calls upon the spirit of Yeezus to guide the reader on a heartwarming – and sometimes comical – journey from bipolar disorder through the mood swings of my carefully curated playlists. (These playlists, of course, are also superior because they’re on Apple Music, not Spotify.)

As a piss off to stereotypes and an ode to my ~eclectic~ musical tastes, I present to you: bipolar disorder, the playlist edition.

“Ctrl. Alt. Delete this playlist”

The first signs are ambiguous. You can feel more eccentric on certain occasions – having a little more pep in your step, per se. It’s nothing too noticeable: you have to squint to see the red flags. Likewise, this alternative playlist seems innocuous on the surface: The Black Keys, Cage The Elephant, The Kooks. On closer inspection, it becomes clear that trouble is near as the picks turn into downright weird 20th-century songs like Jacques Dutronc’s “Les Cactus” and Lio’s “Le Banana Split.”

“All You Ladies K-Pop Your Pussy Likes It”

Graphic manipulation, koreaboos, saesangs – K-pop is a manic industry. Whether Red Velvet’s “Psycho” hits a little close to home is irrelevant, because you can’t stop someone who’s manic from spending their “money” on Blackpink’s Lalisa. The red lights should be flashing and the alarms should be sounding as you walk into them dancing with your buttocks bare at JY Park’s MAMA 2019 performance.

“Rock n’ Roll and Get Away From Me”

Nothing says egocentric more than emo-rock. Shouting anguished Metallica lyrics like “nothing else matters” is a desperate plea for help, but don’t try to call someone who is about to sink into depression, because this phase of My Chemical Romance will surely “scare the shit out of you.”

“Classy-Cal for that Depressy-Gal”

Not much to say about this one. If all you can bear to listen to is “Symphony in G Minor,” you’re deeper in depression than Bach was when he wrote it.

“Nostalgia and Le Cordon Blues”

A musical take on Jeopardy’s medley of answer category, these questionable hodgepodge picks — The Weeknd, Muse, and The Neighborhood — have nothing to do with each other. But they have everything to do with evoking emotional memories of the melodies, which is essential in this post-depression time of nothingness. When you’re heavily medicated and feeling nothing, the bittersweet modulations of Rex Orange County’s “Pluto Projector” may be the only thing that reminds them to keep going.
— Incoming Music Exec Alisa S. Regassa swears she writes music reviews to absolve herself of the sin of jointly focusing on STEM. She quotes the TikTok ‘It’s Like A Reward’ daily as she sits down to write her umpteenth music review of a Weeknd single that no one, herself included, will ever read, as a break from her work on its psets. She also frequently pinches her thumb and index finger to illustrate that she is “so close” to “risking it all” and pursuing a career in music journalism (more commonly known as unemployment). Email to cast your vote of confidence (she needs it).

George L. Hernandez