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The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Soundtrack to the end of the world: Psychedelic pseudonyms

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This week, Kristina Marchand shares her songs for dissociating and decongesting, for cathartic resets between pretend moments and stress bakes. When we’re drowning in unprecedented times, sometimes additional weirdness seems like the only appropriate accompaniment. 

When asked about my music taste, whether during an awkward first date or during pre-orientation duck, duck, goose, my answer was always the same — “Anything but country, really.” But through the haze of the last year (carrying my clothes in trash bags and dozens of pies out of Latin Way), I found my music taste through much trial and error, not understanding what I liked, and chasing the goosebumps. So now, when asked what music I like listening to, I answer, “weird … psychedelic … funky.” I like my music to not sound normal, to put you on edge as much as it soothes you.  

I tend to pretend the world isn’t ending, that everything is completely normal and I’m just making banana bread for a completely, not-close-to-mental-breakdown, good reason. My music taste during this time is spunky and happy, but when I can find a good song that embraces the terrible, dissociative, disappointing existence that we have lived in for the past year, it comforts me. I can feel every single emotion that has been contained and connects with this artist (and maybe a little self-pity because why not). I always just feel a little bit better after a chill runs down my spine. 

There is a lot of pretending, a lot of "putting on a happy face," which I think applies to many of us this year. So here are my picks for what I listen to during the end of the world, my psychedelic pseudonyms. 

'As the World Caves In' (2017) by Matt Maltese

Where to start here? I listen to this song when I feel emotionally congested and need to let it out. It is cathartic. Maltese knows the end is coming, but he takes the moment in and remains peaceful. It reminds me of moments of the past, good and bad. Like your life is flashing before your eyes. Don’t listen with mascara on. "We're going out in style, babe." 

'Washing Machine Heart' (2018) by Mitski

“Toss your dirty shoes in my washing machine heart.” Damn, does this song make me want to walk through a snowstorm. Mitski knowingly enters a relationship that will very well hurt her and break her. It’s a song about longing and sadness for things to be different, but she plays it off. Mitski is unraveling, powerless while feigning strength, but becoming more and more manic. 

'Seven Devils' (2011) by Florence and the Machine 

This is a song for if I were in a zombie apocalypse, walking down an empty street, feeling like the protagonist of my own movie. It's creepy and unsettling, but also gives me a sort of main character energy that makes me feel like I'm ready to take on the world. It is a song that feels like a battle between chaos and control.