Ailie MacK sounds like she’s singing the soliloquy of a musical sitting on a luminous black cube of glass staring out into a faceless crowd on her single “Anxiety.” She asks questions the way those kinds of doubts and ponderings can paralyze you or worse when caught up in the grips of anxiety. She goes through the litany of fears that run through the minds of everyone who has ever suffered from a panic attack and anxiety attacks shy of one. Except MacK stretches them out and sets them to music and casts them forth in a manageable form as a line of song surrounded by the glow of ethereal melodic synths. It would be more obvious to write a song with anxiety embodied as something that feels like those moments where you feel like you could die at any time and maybe that would be preferable to experiencing that feeling for even a moment longer. MacK’s song sounds like taking a step or ten back and separating out those questions and putting them into perspective while asking rational questions about those fears. “If the sky isn’t falling what do I do now? If I answer to the calling does it mean I know how?” There is no bravado in those lyrics. When she admits feelings that seem like utter monoliths of personal disaster she seems to put them into a manageable emotional size: “I get tired of myself and it takes patience to live and learn, I try my best to be grateful for what I earn, I pride myself on not giving into the fear.” When she asks “Will I die this way or will I mend?” she leaves open possibilities to a positive outcome instead of the tunnel vision of anxiety seeing only ultimate ends until the wave passes. As suggested earlier, with the song MacK puts anxiety in slow motion, sets it to a rhythm and an introspective melody and both honors the experience while offering a way not to be controlled by it. It’s frankly a brilliant and original approach to a malady that is much more common than many people are willing to admit and getting to hear a song that tackles it in this way will hopefully be helpful. Listen to “Anxiety” on Spotify and follow Ailie MacK on Facebook. Also below is a video of the making of the song and well worth a watch too.
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