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I have been writing quite a lot during the pandemic, but there’s a lot of drafts that sit unfinished. Every time I’ve started a new draft of one of these analyses, I think about how infinitesimally unimportant my writing is in the current world we live in, and I feel guilty. People are fighting for their lives from hospital beds and from the streets. There are pockets of unrest and discord all over the world that look like tinderboxes ready to explode at any moment.

None of us here on Earth have a crystal ball, but I think it’s safe to say that everyone on this planet is in for a rough ride for the foreseeable future. There are a lot of people hurting, confused, and feeling hopeless. There is a lot of advice out there already, but I wanted to provide my take on things you can do today that will help you cope during this difficult time.

My best recommendation? Stay safe and healthy, which means isolating when and where you can and wearing a mask if you must go out and interface with other people. If you need help, reach out. I cannot stress this enough. Life is always tough, but it’s especially tough now given that many of the usual, healthy coping mechanisms like seeing friends, being social, and going to the gym are prohibited or may look very different than what we’re used to. We’re going through an unprecedented time, and the feelings you have may be unfamiliar or heightened. None of this “I have to be productive like everyone else in isolation” if your mind can’t go there. It’s self-defeating and entirely unhelpful. Don’t compare your response to that of others. We all react to stress in different ways. Give yourself plenty of slack. Be gentle with yourself.

If you haven’t already tried this, a constructive, artistic outlet to release your negative feelings can really help. It’s a great option if meditation, sitting still, and contemplating your navel doesn’t work for you. Listening, dancing, and/or singing to music can be therapeutic. Writing out your feelings can be another big help. Just getting it out on paper is a good exercise to get it out of your system. Writers like me do this all the time.

Above all, if you’re feeling anxious or depressed, please don’t suffer in silence. It isn’t hopeless. Help is available. I saw this Instagram post from A Safe Place Inside Your Head recently, and it really hit home for me. I can help you find other resources, too. Find me on Twitter.

Title: ‘Numb’
Where to find it: ‘Fundamental’ (2006, Parlophone [UK], Rhino [US]); ‘Concrete’ (2006 live album, Parlophone [UK])
Performed by: Pet Shop Boys
Words by: Diane Warren

I put song analysis in quotes in the title of this post, because I feel that the words of the below song are self-explanatory. I did, however, want to post the lyrics for the person who is reading this post, can relate to them, and may find solace in the song as a whole. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with disconnecting from the news and social media right now. We are in the middle of an emotionally overwhelming situation, with the end and resolution uncertain.

I’ve been listening to a bunch of different music while in isolation. In the past week, I’ve been seeking out live albums on Spotify that I’ve never heard before. I came across ‘Concrete’, a 2006 live album of the Pet Shop Boys that was recorded for a BBC Radio 2 programmed called Sold on Song. Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe specifically chose songs for the setlist that had been previously written to have orchestral backing, making this a beautifully unique set.

‘Numb’ is an unusual song to feature on Music in Notes, in that the song was not written by the Pet Shop Boys themselves. It was written by Diane Warren, a well-known name in the pop music world, having penned many a mainstream top 40 hit. The song was a single off their 2006 album ‘Fundamental’. This song follows 3 years later after another famous tune called ‘Numb’ by a singer we sadly lost in 2017.

I hope that if you’re reading this post, reading the lyrics, watching the live performance in Mexico, and hearing Neil Tennant’s plaintive voice below provide you some solace. Please know you’re not alone.

Verse 1
Don’t wanna hear the news
What’s going on
What’s coming through
I don’t wanna know
don’t wanna know
Just wanna hide away
make my my escape
I want the world
to leave me alone
Feels like I feel too much
I’ve seen too much
For a little while
I want to forget

Chorus 1
I wanna be numb
I don’t wanna feel this pain no more
Wanna lose touch
I just wanna go and lock the door
I don’t wanna think
I don’t wanna feel nothing
I wanna be numb
I just wanna be
wanna be numb

Verse 2
Can’t find no space to breathe
World’s closing in
right on me now
Well that’s how it feels
that’s how it feels
Too much light
There’s too much sound
Wanna turn it off
Wanna shut it out
I need some relief
Think that I think too much
I’ve seen too much
There is just too much
thought in my head

Chorus
I wanna be numb
I don’t wanna feel this pain no more
Wanna lose touch
I just wanna go and lock the door
I don’t wanna think
I don’t wanna feel nothing
I wanna be numb
I just wanna be
wanna be

Bridge
Taken away from all the madness
Need to escape
escape from the pain
I’m out on the edge
about to lose my mind
For a little while
For a little while
I wanna be numb

Chorus 2
I don’t wanna think
I don’t wanna feel nothing
I wanna be numb
I don’t wanna feel this pain no more
Wanna lose touch
I just wanna go and lock the door
I don’t wanna think
I don’t wanna feel nothing
I wanna be numb
I just wanna be
wanna be numb
I just wanna be
wanna be numb

Outro
All the madness
I wanna be numb