Mood Music: Mad Songs

There is no equivalent for mania—no music for those manic moments. Almost anything, or everything can speak to one at such times. However, it is interesting to look for traces in the popular media of those who have a basket or two in their attic. Here are a few of my favorites.

In Procol Harum's "Rambling On," the image of donning one's batman costume and jumping off the roof is about as close as one can get to describing a manic episode. The album title Shine on Brightly itself appears to refer to mania: " my befuddled brain/Shines on brightly—quite insane."

The works of Pink Floyd are replete with references to insanity. "Now there's a look in your eyes, like black holes in the sky," is an unmistakable reference to a manic episode. The song, "Shine on you crazy diamond" from Wish You Were Here, is about Syd Barrett, a founder of the band, who burned brightly but briefly. 

Other classic lines from Pink Floyd include: "And if your head explodes with dark forbodings too/And if the band you 're playing in starts playing different tunes/I'll see you on the dark side of the moon" from Dark Side of the Moon and, "If I go insane, please don't put your wires in my brain" from Atom Heart Mother.

Sting gives us a clear reference to mania in Lithium Sunset from Mercury Falling. As with all poetry one has to make up one's own mind about what it says but the last phrase: "See Mercury falling..." bears a strong hint of Icarus about it with a storm to follow.

Finally, Icarus, written by Anne Lister and performed by Martin Simpson, while not a reference to mania, is a beautiful portrayal of the legend of Icarus, an icon of basket weavers throughout the ages.