Glee’s rendition of “Cough Syrup” discusses the themes of sexual identity, bullying, mental health, and suicide. As said before, “cough Syrup is a metaphor for temporary relief. My playlist consisted of a variety of themes. For my second post, I will be diving into the theme of mental health in my first lineage. 

Cough Syrup —- Everybody Hurts — Hold On

Young the Giant came out with “Cough Syrup” in 2010. In 2012, Glee covered the song with Darren Chris playing Blaine Anderson. Chris’ cover of the song depicts the mental breakdown and suicide attempt by David Karofsky. Both bands are alternative bands, which is another lineage. What is interesting about the music videos is how they depict mental health. I feel that “Cough Syrup” is a cry for help and “Everybody Hurts” is the response to the song. We sometimes forget that everyone is dealing with something. When we feel our loneliness, it is hard to feel like there is anyone that cares about us. R.E.M is shouting that you are not alone and “everybody hurts”. Glee’s cover takes an explicit route in showing the effects of a breakdown and utter loneliness. 


In 1992, R.E.M came out with the hit, “Everybody Hurts”. Written by former band member and drummer, Bill Berry, he wrote this song for people who felt hopeless in the world. It is an anti-suicide song. The song was a success and impacted a lot of people, Nevada, which had a high teen suicide rate, applauded R.E.M for their message. The music video shows a variety of people stuck in traffic with blank stares. It is interesting the way they chose to do the music video. For other songs, artists would have a more explicit video showing a mental breakdown or have a more complex video, but R.E.M opted for a simple car traffic jam. At the end of the music video when R.E.M sings, “Hold on. Hold on. Hold on”, everyone gets out of the car and starts walking. We see a man looking down, shaking his head. The video is then edited like a vintage camera showing the rest of the traffic. On the other roads, cars are zooming around, except the cars that are parked. I think the message of that ending scene is that if you cannot get where you want the way you want to, there is always another way.  

“And everybody hurts sometimes.

So hold on, So hold on, So hold on, So hold on,

So hold on, So hold on, So hold on, So hold on,

Everybody hurts”

The lyrics above are the last lines of “Everybody hurts”. Berry did not see many songs that talked about mental health like this and wanted to write a song that could help people going through hard times. This is also a great transition into my next song, “Hold on”.

The final song for this lineage is “Hold On” by Chord Overstreet. “Hold On” was written in response to the accidental suicide of former Glee castmate, Cory Monteith. This is a very important lineage because not only does it touch on mental health but Overstreet was another main character on Glee. Monteith passed away in 2013 at the age of 31. The cast and crew dedicated an episode to him called “Quarterback”. He suffered from depression and had been addicted to drugs and alcohol. He had been working hard to overcome his addictions and was clean for a long time. All three songs are soft rock songs. Talking about mental health is becoming more and more normalized, especially on social media. Music videos are a way for artists to express their songs and messages in a creative way. Chord Overstreet did not release a music video for his song. In a way, he didn’t need to, because everyone that knew that show and many that heard of the news of Monteith’s passing, already knew what the song was about. 

“Hold on. I still want you.

Come back. I still need you.

Let me take your hand, I’ll make it right”

The lyrics above are the first part of the chorus. Like I said earlier, when you are dealing with your inner demons, it is hard to think that anyone will care. Asking for help isn’t easy for anyone, especially when you do not feel you are worth it. For many dealing with mental health, we try and deal with it by ourselves. Overstreet singing, “Let me take your hand, I’ll make it right” is so powerful because he, as the friend, is trying to help his dear friend and take some of his sufferings away.


I thought of my song selection as: “Cough Syrup”, the cry for help, “Everybody Hurts” saying that you are not alone, and “Hold On” saying to not give up. 


For my second lineage, I will be discussing the theme of the abuse of power. Whether it is the police or politicians, we see every day how easy it is to corrupt others and use one’s power for wrong. We are taught growing up that we need to obey authorities. If someone is in a higher power, it means they had earned it and know what they are doing….or that is what is supposed to be the case. Unfortunately, we are proven wrong time and time again with greedy people who want power and belittle those around them.

Trouble in Town— Black Boys on Mopeds


“Trouble in Town”, another song from my playlist is performed and written by Coldplay. The song came out in 2020 from their newest album, “Everyday Life”. What is unique about this song is the music video. It takes on the themes from the George Orwell book, “Animal Farm”. The music video shows homelessness, police brutality, crime, and power. Coldplay’s lead singer, Chris Martin sings the song in a “mellow” and “depressing” tone. You can hear the pain in his voice. Coldplay is known for creating music to advocate change and reform. This is the only song out of the 3 that has a music video. Using “Animal Farm” as a way of depicting these themes was extremely creative because most kids are required to read the book and it allowed Coldplay to send a message without explicitly pointing fingers (although many assume he is responding to Donald Trump’s presidency). The song ends with a violent encounter between a police officer and a suspect. The instrumental gets louder and louder the more intense the conversation gets.

“Law of the jungle or the law on the street.

There’s blood on, there’s blood on the beat”

These lyrics are very powerful because it talks about the abuse of power. The pigs in both “Animal Farm” and in the music video play the corrupt politicians. They have no control over anything and are only focused on gaining more and more power. Because they are only focused on power, they neglect the streets, or poorer areas, which are running with homelessness, police abuse, and crime. This is an example of a domino effect. When one thing goes out of line, everything else starts to fall apart. When politicians’ jobs are to help the people and they neglect the people, chaos ensues.


Sinead O’Connor is an Irish musician who rose to fame in the 1980s. She has been very vocal on a variety of issues, such as child abuse and women’s rights. In 1990, O’Connor came out an album called, “I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got”. The entire album is in honor of Colin Roach and his family. In 1983, Colin roach was a black, British man who was shot and killed in the Stoke Newington police station. “Black Boys On Mopeds” is one of the songs from her album that is dedicated to him.

“England’s not the mythical land of Madame George and roses.

It’s the home of police who kill blacks boys on mopeds”

I think people who are not from England see it as a place of peace when there is a lot that goes on. O’Connor is calling out England’s police force for this horrific murder. What is significant about the case is the murder was covered up and was reported to be a suicide.  What is amazing about this artist is she has been very outspoken over women’s rights and child abuse, but hearing her talk about police brutality is very interesting. I think it is also amazing that she dedicated the entire album to him and his family. In 2016, Shea Rose covered O’Connor’s song. Rose uses a red scarf that would occasionally choke her, symbolizing the death, and abuse of power among the police force towards Black Americans.

As you can see another commonality is that both artists are all white. I chose to find white artists because it provided a different narrative. I never heard of the song “Black Boys On Mopeds”, although I was semi-familiar with the artist. It is important to hear music that discusses the themes of power and abuse. As we have learned in class, the perspective and narration change depending on who sings it and the topic. Seeing white artists advocate and discuss these topics is crucial for reform. The spoken alliance and unity show that we want the same thing: peace.