The “If you’re going through Hell, keep going” playlist

A number of my friends are going through some challenging times. I know what that’s like, and for their benefit, I’d like to share this “bummed out” playlist that got me through the end of 2010 and start of 2011, when I was going through what I call “The Great Reset”.

OK Go’s This Too Shall Pass

Every “bummed out” playlist needs at least one song with this message. The Sufi poets were the first to come up with this gem, and it’s been used time and time again, by Solomon, Edward Fitzgerald, Abraham Lincoln, and alt-rock band OK Go. Their song was so nice, they made a video for it twice — once with a Rube Goldberg machine

…and once as a marching band with a brass section in Ghillie suits:

Digital Leather’s Blackness

If the Bloodhound Gang decided to write more serious songs, they might end up sounding like this. For some perverse reason, I like the verse with these two lines, one after the other: “I’ve got courage in my heart / Love is a feeling like warm black leather”.

Broken Bells’ The High Road

“‘Cause they know and so do I / The high road is hard to find…”

The Black Keys’ Next Girl

The chorus is a promise I made to myself when I was in the hospital.

Retro Trip

I added some tunes that I used to have on my “bummed out” playlist from early 1991, because there’s comfort in the familiar. My problems then seem so minor compared to early 2011.

The Jesus and Mary Chain’s Snakedriver

Yeah, it’s three-chord rock and roll, but it’s great three-chord rock and roll.

Ozzy Osbourne’s No More Tears

Ozzy was a real mess at this point, and this song was him letting it all out.

Faith No More’s Midlife Crisis

One of their best tracks. Did anyone see them when they played that roller rink in Mississauga in ’90? Now that was a show.

MC 900 Ft Jesus and DJ Zero’s Straight to Heaven

A great track off a great and underappreciated album, Hell with the Lid Off. They played at Alfie’s Pub at Crazy Go Nuts University, and DJ Jerome even let DJ Zero do a session after the show, which was stunning.

KMFDM’s Godlike

During my time as a DJ at Clark Hall Pub, this industrial dance single became a sort of pub anthem. Here’s a version they did live in 2004…

And here’s the studio version.

KMFDM’s Stray Bullet

You want angry? You got angry.

Nine Inch Nails’ Down in It

I like the rawness of this demo version — next to it, the version on Pretty Hate Machine feels overproduced.

Washed Out’s Eyes Be Closed

After all that angst, something a little more chill.

The New Pornographers’ The Laws Have Changed

You’re playing a new game, with new rules. Hence this song:

Classfied’s That Ain’t Classy

And while times may be rough, that’s no reason not to take the high road. Since I’ve already got a song called “The High Road” on this list, here’s an equally fitting tune:

Cee-Lo’s Fuck You

This was gaining momentum on the charts at the time, and if it weren’t for the lyrics about being broke (I was working at Microsoft at the time, and my bank account was super-flush), it would fit perfectly. I’m going with the full-on F-word version, not that “Eff You” or “Forget You” nonsense.

The Streets’ Going Through Hell

My personal anthem whenever I didn’t feel like getting out of bed at the time. “It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog,” as they say.

Digitalism’s Forrest Gump

And once I got out of bed, this musical biscuit from a German electronic duo in conjunction with the lyrics guy from The Strokes got me to full speed:

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