Somewhere, in a dusty old pirate-ship shaped library with creaky spiral staircases going up the center and shelves covered with broken stained glass, is a person giggling hysterically to themselves as they make up absurd holidays that no one celebrates but everyone riffs on.
Or maybe that’s just one of our many multiple personalities. It is fittingly National Multiple Personality Day, which is less about being crazy and more about embracing your inner bad, good, weirdo, balloon lover side.
Which at one point in history would be considered crazy and you’d be locked up in a sanatorium and shaven from head-to-toe post-haste. Luckily, there is no limit to how strange this world can get and we’ve got some talented musicians to write about those experiences.
Here’s a buncha songs about being “crazy,” but really, who defines that these days?
How many nervous breakdowns have you had? We’ve had a least four this year, not including every single day when we wake up and have an existential crisis before our daily coffee.
For the person in this Rolling Stones song, they are so out of it that they’re on their NINETEENTH. Which is kind of a lot, but normal these days with small dog toting socialites we guess.
“Basket Case”-Green Day
Is he paranoid? Is he stoned? One thing’s for sure, Billie Joe Armstrong really likes to talk about his “issues,” but what can we expect from someone who simultaneously goes to a nymphomaniac shrink and a prostitute suffering from ennui?
You pay them, Billie. They’re supposed to lie to you. Get it together.
A 5150 is defined as “involuntary psychiatric hold.” Really, that’s all you need to know.
Sure, Cee-lo Green sings “crazy” over and over again. But that’s not what makes this song truly “crazy.” First of all, his head is full of space but also he knows too much AT THE SAME TIME. Then he laughs at himself and answers in the third person. Jam of the century turned into David Lynchian psychological exploration? We think so.
This is a deep cut in David Bowie’s repertoire and one might argue all of his songs showcase a little “insanity,” but this one is explicit. It’s like the best acid trip ever or American Horror Story.
“Crazy Train”-Ozzy Osbourne
Mental wounds not healing, mental wounds still screaming. Ozzy Osbourne is going nuts and in “Crazy Train” he seems to be blaming society for choo-choo-choosing blind tail-wagging control over man and the media for selling it while “you live the role.”
A gazillion years later where does this media-bashing Brit end up? On a reality television show raking in millions. Well played, Ozzy. You win this round.
This song gives us anxiety, mostly because Bad Religion is really adept at naming all the ways that one can have anxiety and it gets worse and worse in our society of pill-popping drones. Ugh, we are having a panic attack thinking about it.
“Flagpole Sitta”-Harvey Danger
This song pretty much sums up the entirety of the ’90s. If we had to put one song in a time capsule and have the future figure out what the ’90s were about it would be this one.
Essentially, the ’90s is when everyone started experimenting with everything from caffeine-addiction to crappy style to hard drugs to xeroxing zines to Prozac to telling the whole entire world about their problems because having problems was “cool.”
Rumors say this song was based on the Camarillo State Mental Hospital. Whether that rumor is true or not, the fact that Hotel California is a place where “you can check out anytime you like, but you can never leave” is enough to tell us the inhabitants are a little mental.
Speaking of the crazy ’90s, hysteria was once a term given to women of the Victorian age who suffered from sexual frustration because many men at the time had no concept of female pleasure. This song might be about that, or about female orgasm, or maybe Muse just liked the way it sounds, but these days hysteria is just an outdated way to call a broad “crazy.”
–Nadia Noir, CBS Radio Los Angeles