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5 songs that make you contemplate the meaning of life


There are unusual feelings that come from a four-day break, making you ponder on the futility of your daily grind. Are you really Sisyphus, pushing a boulder up a hill only for it to fall back again, rinse and repeat? Is the world simply a simulation? Are we really in The Matrix, without the benefit of Keanu Reeves as a sidekick? As we contemplate the answer to life, the universe and everything (it’s not 42), here are some songs to fuel your deep thoughts.

“The Pursuit of Happiness” by Kid Cudi

Superficial, short-term thrills are exactly that—fleeting happiness that’s hollow in the end. While they try to insist that they’re “fine and good,” Kid Cudi’s track lays out the dark place that we fall back to after brief pleasures. What is happiness? Well, it’s one you can think about with this track.

“Ribs” by Lorde

Ah, 2013 Lorde. “Pure Heroine” was the soundtrack to our angst just as we were on the cusp of adulthood, and the track “Ribs” might just be the anthem. Maturity’s right on the horizon, but can’t we cling to our innocent, childlike selves for just one moment longer? With lines like “And I’ve never felt more alone / It feels so scary, getting old,” Lorde sums up our coming-of-age stories.

Read more: 5 shows for your next existential breakdown

“No Exit” by Childish Gambino

Here’s a not-so-fun fact: This Gambino track is a nudge to the play of the same name written by existentialist philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre. The 1944 story focuses on three characters condemned in hell, while the solitariness of “No Exit’s” persona has condemned him to his personal damnation—a lonely life devoid of fulfillment.

“Is This It?” by The Strokes

The track’s title pretty much gives the gist of our existential ennui. With a listless tone and beaten-down energy, this song—and this whole Strokes album—may just be an eternal mood. We know what this band means when they say, “I can’t think, ’cause I’m just way too tired.”

Read more: Stop your sulking, here are 4 films to escape existential ennui

“Glass Eyes” by Radiohead

Alienation, anxiety and a character frightened by society: These are the ingredients of a song that makes Marx proud. While a shorter track compared to the rest of the “A Moon Shaped Pool” album, this Radiohead song packs everything in one ballad, wanting to escape into the great unknown.

Art by Kristine Paz-Yap



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