I’m going off the rails on a crazy train…
I mean, we’ve all gone off the rails right now, haven’t we? Six months-plus into a pandemic with no concrete end in sight, a divisive presidential election, protests in many cities, unemployment, etc. etc. etc.—there’s plenty of stuff to damage anyone’s mental health and question if we’ve all gone crazy.
So the theme for the latest show I’m hosting (September 26th) is “Crazy.” It’s a pretty straightforward theme: I have songs with “crazy” in the title, along with songs/artists related to “madness,” mental health, and feeling the blues. And I include a song from a TV show (Crazy Ex-Girlfriend) whose whole premise is about mental health and how (not) to deal with it.
The idea for doing this theme at this time seems pretty obvious. Many of us—myself included—are going through tough times. And although “crazy” isn’t the proper way to label someone dealing with mental illness (“it’s a pejorative term,” to quote the Crazy Ex-Girlfriend theme song), using that theme is a way for me to call attention to the struggles many are having right now. And, more directly, there are a zillion songs with “crazy” in the title.
I’m happy with the music mix in the show. Ozzy Osbourne’s “Crazy Train” really sums up the mood of the entire country. Icehouse’s “Crazy” is that lesser-remembered 80s tune which was a hit at the time (#14 in 1987) and has a great sound..and an interesting video:
Hearing a song by the English ska band Madness that isn’t “Our House” or “One Step Beyond” is fun, and Pat Benatar’s “Anxiety (Get Nervous)” isn’t just one of my favorites from her, it’s also how I (and many others) feel a lot of the time.
There’s a mix of “blues” in the show: in song titles (“I Guess That’s Why They Call It the Blues”—my favorite Elton John song), band names (Blues Traveler and The Moody Blues, my brother Ray’s favorite band) and a cut from The Blues Brothers. Add in the last hit Kim Carnes had called “Crazy In the Night (Barking at Airplanes),”—one of the best titles ever—some Prince, David Lee Roth, and an introspective song from my fave, Neil Diamond, and you’ve got a strong mix of songs from the 80s and 90s…and even some 70s thrown in.
I think it’s important to mention that I’m not making light of mental health issues by using Crazy as the show's theme. Even without the pandemic and all of the other stuff happening in the world, sometimes it’s just hard for people to cope. It’s okay to get help! It is definitely not a sign of weakness; if anything, asking for and getting help is a sign of strength that you’re willing to reach out. As someone who is old enough to have grown up in a time when mental health/depression/anxiety were often looked at as a sign of weakness, I get how difficult it is to ask for help—either through a professional or just reaching out to friends or family. But don’t be afraid to do it. In the case of your family/friends, they likely want to help, and in the case of mental health professionals, that’s why they are there.
Speaking of getting help, if you or someone you know feels lost/hopeless or has suicidal thoughts, you can call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255 or visit https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/. The Lifeline is available 24 hours a day/7 days per week and provides free, confidential support for people in distress, prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones.
As I say on the show, there’s no way I can do justice to the serious issues of mental health on a two-hour radio show dedicated to 80s and 90s songs…and even if there was time to do it, I am not the person equipped to do so. But at least we can listen to some great songs, forgotten hits, and obscure tunes for two hours as we endure this trying time together. I hope you enjoy it.