Everyone manages stress differently. Some people use guided meditation, some people go with binge drinking and an underground fight club. There are as many coping strategies as there are people.
Similarly, some people go for some mellow, soothing music. Most people really. But that’s not how I roll. No, I prefer to ratchet up the tension until it overloads my brain and wraps back around to calm. It works much better than you’d assume, but it takes very specific, very special music to pull off.
Fortunately for you I’m here to be your guide on this quest to loud, angry zen. So follow along with this five-step program to either alleviate your stress and anxiety or possibly kill you, we’ll see how it goes.
Slipknot — “The Heretic Anthem”
This, for example. This is the sort of thing I mean.
Nobody is claiming that this is a good song in an objective sense, but listen to it loud. I mean really loud. Can you feel your shoulders tighten? Your fingers tense up? Is your jaw starting to clench?
Good. Good. That’s a good start. Embrace that. Internalize it.
Dethklok — “Hatredcopter”
Now that we started hard and fast, let’s level off a bit and let it build.
There are, as far as I know, three cartoon bands that have achieved some level of major success. Dethklok is obviously the first since they’re the one that started this conversation. The second is the most famous cartoon band, the legendary Gorillaz.
The third, however, you may not know! Sidecar Astronauts is a side project by Storm DiCostanzo of Paul and Storm, and they’re a concept band that’s part power pop and part bubblegum pop. It’s weird and good and you should listen to it.
But not right now because we’ve gotta continue to angry up your blood.
Motörhead — “Ace of Spades”
We’ve gone hard so now let’s pick up some speed. And what better way to add speed than to add Lemmy?
Lemmy survived a great deal of his life on liquor and red meat. While we’re all sorry he’s gone, nobody’s 100-percent sure how he survived as long as he did.
Perhaps that’s the secret. Maybe if you lived your life just a little bit more like Lemmy you wouldn’t be taking advice from a total stranger on the Internet. In fact if this all doesn’t work and also doesn’t kill you just eat the biggest steak you can afford.
Marilyn Manson — “This Is the New Shit”
We’re almost through our very scientific stress relief program I made up and has literally never worked for anyone other than me.
The important thing these songs need is a hard, consistent beat. The vein in your forehead needs to be able to pulse to the song as the tension builds and builds throughout your entire body. And of Manson’s entire oeuvre—because obviously Manson needs to be included in here somewhere—this fits the bill the closest. The rest are either too fast or too slow or too irregular.
By this point you should be seeing spots at the edges of your vision. That’s normal, don’t worry about that. If your doctor says otherwise tell her or him that you heard “it’s fine” from a music site.
Rage Against the Machine — “Killing in the Name”
Now we get to the part where your stress is actually relieved.
The song starts somewhat slow, of course, which lets you ease slightly. But then it builds harder and faster than you can handle. Those spots at the edges of your vision creep in more as the vocals get louder and angrier. The tension in your neck and shoulders increases until it feels like you lost a fight.
Then, suddenly, by the end you’re shouting along with the song. You might be headbanging or pounding involuntarily on your desk. That’s the moment it all boils over and vents, and by the end you’ll have achieved a state of near-zen, too physically and emotionally exhausted to worry about much of anything.
Either that or you’ll be hospitalized for severe internal injuries and possibly a brain bleed. If you think that might be the case, please leave this site and delete your browser history. We don’t need the liability.
Follow editor Daniel J. Willis and tweet column ideas to him at Twitter.com/BayAreaData.