I usually like K.Flay’s music. Her tendency towards loud bass, swearing, and rap-like rhythms appeals to me, especially on bad days when all I need is an energy boost. I’m not being sarcastic. I’ve jammed to “Blood In The Cut” a number of times.
Her latest single, “Bad Vibes,” released a couple days ago, describes her relationship with someone who gives her “bad vibes” (of course). She’s describing someone who apparently gives off toxic energy, but it sounds a lot like she’s friends with someone who has Depression:
“You only like bad news
Sleep in your car, feelin’
Like a baby
Beautiful trees outside
Sky isn’t bright blue,
You see storm clouds”
That’s alarming to me. I’ve been digging the “positive, let’s feel grateful” movement arisen lately throughout social media, but sometimes (not all the time), it shames people with mental illness, saying they’re “toxic,” that you shouldn’t feel bad for cutting yourself off completely from someone who makes you feel bad, even if it happens just one time.
Depression is notorious for cutting the depressed off from all of their loved ones, probably because it makes people say negative things and yes, gives people bad vibes.
Depression makes you feel like everything sucks even when it doesn’t and it makes “bright blue skies look like storm clouds,” but that doesn’t make someone a bad person for thinking that way. It’s not usually a choice.
For people who are not going to therapy or cannot actively go out to get help and change their perspective, it’s easy to bum everyone out. It’s easy to leak out your dark thoughts into words. It’s easy to find relief in a drug addiction. Like K.Flay sings,
“You think it’s cooler
To have bad thoughts
Never eat ice cream,
Only take white drugs
In a circle of people without
Any reason to love, you’re a guy
I’ve been screaming a lot,
“How is the earth so hot”
Like why even try when
It’s already fucked?”
It doesn’t seem like anyone thinks it’s “cooler” to have bad thoughts, they just do. Her lyrics hint at climate change, a desperate cry for help, hidden in this person’s words. It’s easy to get depressed about climate change and if Depression is putting that thought at the forefront of your mind on repeat over-and-over again, it makes sense to speak your thoughts, especially with a group of friends you love and care about.
Throughout my own therapy, I’ve been thinking a lot about bad vibes, bad energy. If you have bad feelings, it makes sense to tell someone about it, but sometimes the way you do it can hurt someone else and pass on the bad vibes. Let’s say your boss had a bad day because someone accidentally spilled their coffee on him.
He yells at you in the office and puts you in a bad mood. You go home to your husband and yell at him. Now he’s in a bad mood and he yells at the kids. Now they’re in a bad mood and one of them pushes someone on the playground. It’s a flow of bad energy. If you’re feeling bad, even when it’s caused by mental illness, it’s your responsibility to do something with that energy.
Take that energy and put it into something positive. Maybe go for a run, cook a good meal, cry in your room and eat a bunch of ice cream. Go to the gym and run it out. Don’t pass it on to someone else.
It’s difficult to handle bad vibes responsibly. It’s difficult not to pass it on to someone else, but if you don’t have a mental illness, you can try your best to interact with a friend who’s giving off bad vibes by trying to act responsibly.
Not everyone has mental illness. Toxic people do exist. Some people are just downright mean and not Debbie Downers because the world is ending and they can’t stop thinking about it. As for those hella mean people, by all means, cut them out of your life, but even by talking about it with negative language, you’re passing bad energy onto someone else.
K.Flay isn’t exactly shaming her depressed (or maybe actually toxic) friend. She ends the song with these lyrics, like she isn’t going to let those bad vibes affect her. She won’t bring others down, too:
“Yeah I get- bad energy
Sick pleasure from you
You can’t drag me down
‘Cause I feel good
Yeah I’m real good”
I guess I’m on a roll here with quoting popular pop songs, but Ariana Grande’s “Thank U, Next” has much more positive vibes going for it (and the best music video in the entire world), with the same amount of blazen curse words I dig so much:
“One taught me love
One taught me patience
And one taught me pain
Now, I’m so amazing
I’ve loved and I’ve lost
But that’s not what I see
So, look what I got
Look what you taught me
And for that, I say
Thank you, next
I’m so fuckin’ grateful for my ex”
Rock on, all. Pass on those good vibes.
Photo by Pitchfork