12 songs in 2018 that got real about anxiety

21 December 2018, 22:26 | Updated: 22 December 2018, 15:18

Billie Eilish, Shawn Mendes, Ariana Grande
Billie Eilish, Shawn Mendes, Ariana Grande. Picture: Interscope Records/Universal/Republic/Screenshot
Nicky Idika

By Nicky Idika

Here are some songs from 2018 that opened up about anxiety, loneliness, and insecurity in a deeply important way.

2018 was a big year for pop hits. It was also a big year for songs that opened up about anxiety, loneliness, and insecurity in important ways. Artists like Ariana Grande, Alessia Cara, and even Shawn Mendes perfectly expressed the day-to-day struggles, worries, and anxieties many of us often experience.

We appreciated these artists opening up in with their music so here are 12 songs in 2018 that touched on these issues in a relatable way.

1) Breathin' - Ariana Grande

Much of Ariana's "Breathin'" aptly conveys how stressful the process of overthinking can be. She sings lyrics like "feel my blood runnin', swear the sky's fallin', I know that all this shit's fabricated. Time goes by and I can't control my mind." Of course, the chorus is a reminder to "just keep breathing," which can be a helpful mantra for some people during panic attacks and particularly stressful moments.

2) Growing Pains - Alessia Cara

Alessia Cara has always been open about anxiety and mental health in her music. Her debut single "Here" was all about the type of social anxiety many of us feel in large gatherings and at parties. Her 2018 release "Growing Pains" touches on complex emotions that come from trying manage day-to-day adult stress.

She expresses this with lyrics like "starting to look like Ms. Know-it-all can't take her own advice. Can't find pieces of peace of mind" and "They tell me it ain't that bad. Now don't you overreact. So I just hold my breath, don't know why can't see the sun when young should be fun".

3) Noah Cyrus - Sadness

Noah opens up a lot on "Sadness", a song taken from her Good Cry EP. She starts the song with the lyrics "three years of therapy still hasn't got me right. I still wake up crying on the floor. And I know I feel too much sometimes, is that so wrong?"

4) In My Blood - Shawn Mendes

Shawn Mendes' "In My Blood" is deeply emotional. On the song, Shawn sings about needing help and feeling like giving up. He also addresses feelings of loneliness and anxiety. "I'm looking through my phone again, feeling anxious. Afraid to be alone again, I hate this. I'm trying to find a way to chill, can't breathe."

5) Get Well Soon - Ariana Grande

"They say my system is overloaded. I'm too much in my head, did you notice? My body's here on Earth, but I'm floating. Disconnected, so sometimes, I feel frozen and alone." The lyrics of Ariana Grande's "Get Well Soon" read like the ultimate letter to anxiety. Ari talks about self-doubt and her mind being controlled by "what ifs". Throughout the song Ariana is constantly reminding herself to "come back down".

6) You've Got Your Whole Life Ahead of You Baby - IDER

Being in your 20s is not as fun and easy as Friends re-runs would have you believe. IDER capture the fear and anxiety that comes along with young adulthood in "You've Got Your Whole Life Ahead of You Baby". "I'm in my 20s so I panic in every way I'm so scared of the future. I keep missing today." If this doesn't capture the fear of being a young adult and worrying about money, love, careers, and everything in between, I don't know what will.

7) Happy & Sad - Kacey Musgraves

Kacey Musgraves' Happy & Sad perfectly captures the emotional complexity of being a nervous pessimist by nature. On "Happy & Sad" she wonders if there's a way to "stop all this thinkin'" and sings the lyrics "and I'm the kind of person who starts getting kinda nervous when I'm having the time of my life. Is there a word for the way that I'm feeling tonight? Happy and sad at the same time."

8) In My Dreams - Kali Uchis

On "In My Dreams" Kali Uchis imagines a dream world where she has no worries or concerns in life. She sings about not having bills or family problems or relationship issues on the dreamy song from her album Isolation. That desire to escape might sound all too familiar for anyone who occasionally feels bogged down by life's worries. "I'm feelin' happy inside, I got no reason to hide. I'm a dream girl. I'm never stressing my bills, nobody ever gets killed. It's the dream world. My mama's never on coke, this isn't my way to cope. Washin' my mind out with soap."

9) "Version of Me" - Sasha Sloan

Sasha Sloan's "Version of Me" talks about feeling insecure when it comes to having trauma and being in a relationship. "I get outta my head, get outta my mind. Can't get outta bed sometimes."

10) "lovely" - Billie Eilish, Khalid

"Need a place to hide, but I can't find one near. Wanna feel alive, outside I can fight my fear. Isn't it lovely, all alone?
Heart made of glass, my mind of stone."

11) Real Friends - Camila Cabello

On Camila Cabello's "Real Friends" she sings about feeling "alone in a crowded room" and not having a support system. Anyone who has ever felt the weight of social anxiety will understand how isolating it can be when you don't believe you have friends to lean on.

12) Come Back to Earth - Mac Miller

On "Come Back to Earth" Mac Miller sings the lyrics "I just need a way out of my head". Feeling stuck in ones head is an experience most anxiety sufferers can relate to in a big way. Come Back to Earth is just one must-hear track on Mac Miller's deeply introspective and important final album Swimming.