The ongoing global pandemic has been tough on everyone. It's affected people's livelihoods, relationships, and their mental health.
Being one of the most stigmatized topics out there, many people hesitate and find it difficult to open up about their mental health struggles. A lot of them tend to keep their depression and anxieties inside, possibly leading to a life of isolation and despair with a dark cloud looming overhead that can't seem to go away.
Bandwagon's top releases of 2021 so far – Japanese Breakfast, BTS, Olivia Rodrigo, Silk Sonic, Zild, Subsonic Eye, WOODZ, and more
But things don't have to be this way. Numerous artists across the globe, like Ariana Grande, Billie Eilish, Lauv, Pete Wentz of Fall Out Boy, and Kendrick Lamar, have dedicated their work to help people open up and speak freely about their struggles. The music they put out encourage listeners to talk about mental health, learn more about it, and even seek help.
Here are nine songs written and performed by Asian artists that continue to help people tackle the uphill battle against mental health issues.
BTS - 'Epiphany'
BTS always make it a point to remind listeners to Love Yourself. In Jin's solo song 'Epiphany', the singer describes the importance of loving oneself because of and despite imperfections. He sings, "I'm the one I should love in this world."
Besides 'Epiphany', the 'Butter' group draw inspiration from the basic principles of analytical psychology by Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung and his theories on ego and persona for their Map of the Soul era. In fact, the topic of mental health is evident across their records. A lot of it is based around these concepts as they reflect on the personal struggles they had to battle throughout the years, including the cost of fame.
The GRAMMY-nominated act have also been working with UNICEF on their LOVE MYSELF campaign to help "end violence and neglect while simultaneously promoting children and young people’s self-esteem and well-being."
UDD - 'Crying Season'
The heart-wrenching 'Crying Season' by UDD was written for their late road manager Sherwin de Guzman, who passed away in July 2018. The band came up with the track to help themselves cope with his tragic loss.
In an interview with Bandwagon, vocalist Armi Millare shared, "Everybody came together, putting in things that we all felt Sherwin would like."
Rico Blanco - 'This Too Shall Pass'
Rico Blanco calls his first quarantine single 'This Too Shall Pass' the most difficult song he'd ever written. The 'Your Universe' singer-songwriter penned the track while he was living alone at the start of the pandemic as he recovered from carpal tunnel surgery. "I'd like to say the song kept me company while I was doing laundry, doing my chores. I felt a little less lonely because it was my connection to the outside world," he shared in an interview with Bandwagon, adding how it comforted him at the time.
He said, "I actually didn't realize how powerful this song is to me until I started recording clips for a music video and I couldn't finish a take without breaking down. Iba pala when you're performing it."
Blanco shared that he gives a bit of himself with 'This Too Shall Pass' as he sympathizes with everyone. "I'm not the one with the answers. But one thing I know—love will always find a way," he said.
Typecast - 'Perfect Posture'
Typecast's somber track 'Perfect Posture' reflects on the pain and suffering that those with suicidal thoughts experience. Through extreme close-ups of different body types and panning to people who contemplate in isolation, Typecast remind viewers that they are not alone.
"Since it's a very heavy song accompanied by an intense video, we wanted to give the viewers ample time to reflect and we wanted to let the video simmer and let it all come to a halt. I hope it hits them on a positive note. People don't get enough reflection time these days," vocalist Steve Badiola shared with Bandwagon in an interview.
The Itchyworms - 'The Silence'
The Itchyworms took their pain and struggles brought by the coronavirus pandemic to create their 9-track record Waiting For The End To Start. The entire album, which holds the strongest songs the band had written to date, tackles the different personal stages people have gone through in this pandemic atmosphere.
Their single 'The Silence' was the first song they wrote for this album. In an interview with Bandwagon, vocalist/guitarist Jugs Jugueta said, "'The Silence' is about the abrupt silence that happened when the ECQ started. As a musician and a TV host, my life was very noisy (but in a good way). Then in one quick snap, our lives changes instantly. This song is about the deafening silence of quarantine life."
Zild - 'Huminga'
The title track of Zild's sophomore album Huminga, offers a breath of fresh air as the IV Of Spades vocalist/bassist sings about empathy and checking on one another especially in these trying times.
'Huminga' was the song that started the entire album, which Zild calls his favorite creation. At the beginning of May, Zild shared on Twitter, "Hindi biro ang laban dito. Hindi rin siya decorative or something na cool. Totoong pagsubok siya. Kumustahin natin yung mga taong malapit sa atin. Okay lang kung awkward, magugulat ka nalang na may natulungan ka."
mxmtoon - 'seasonal depression'
In her 2019 track 'seasonal depression', mxmtoon traverses the complexity and gloom of depression against the sonic backdrop of a sunny, feel-good movie. With the contrasting lyrics and melody, the tracks sends a message of validation while simultaneously reassuring listeners that there will always better days.
Rendy Pandugo - 'MR. SUN'
An ode to the ever-present sun, Rendy Pandugo reminds us that despite a period of darkness, 'MR. SUN' will rise again. Inspired by a conversation with a friend, the single shares a sentiment of hope and resurgence.
The track appears in his latest EP, SEE YOU SOMEDAY, which was inspired by his and his friend's pre-COVID days as it serves as an ode to his fans who he hopes to "see someday".
"The idea of the title 'SEE YOU SOMEDAY' came because I really miss my fans, especially since I haven’t been able to perform live and meet them in real life due to the pandemic. I wish I can see them very soon but until then, I just hope that I can be there for them in other ways, through my music or social media," Rendy told Bandwagon in an interview.
M1LDL1FE - 'Can't Seem To Get Anything'
Singaporean indie-pop act M1LDL1FE explore what it feels like to be under the mental duress of depression and anxiety with their single 'Can't Seem to Get Anything'.
Inspired by the mental health struggles people continue to face in the middle of a global pandemic, 'Can't Seem to Get Anything' channels the universal feeling of being silenced and paralyzed by anxiety and fear. In a press release, frontman Paddy Ong said, "The song acts as a sort of cry for help, an acceptance that something doesn't feel right. Music is a very powerful healing agent, and this was a way for us to express these things we were feeling."
If you are experiencing an emotional crisis and in need of immediate assistance, please contact the following:
HOPE - (02) 804-HOPE (4673) / 0917 558 HOPE (4673) / 2919 (toll-free number for all GLOBE and TM subscribers)
Manila Lifeline Centre - (02) 896-9191 / 0917 854 9191
Samaritans of Singapore - 1800-221 4444
Lifeline Association of Malaysia - 011-3157 1495 / 016-720 1495
Psychological Services for Mental Health - 119
SAMHSA - 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
7 Cups of Tea
Anxiety UK - 03444 775 774
For AAPI Mental Health Resources, visit the following sites:
Asian Mental Health Collective
National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance (NQAPIA)
Asian Mental Health Project
South Asian Mental Health
South Asian Therapists
AAPI Health Forum
For more Mental Health Resources, visit the following sites:
Like what you read? Show our writer some love!