’ve suffered from depression since I was a teenager, but it only started to include panic attacks when I was in my late 20s. I’m pretty heavily medicated now, so I haven’t had a case of full-on depression in a long time. But the panic attacks remain.

I usually get them when I’m in the great outdoors, doing mundane shit like running errands. I can feel it creep up on me in the first couple of minutes, and it gets to its most intense as I’m wrapping it up and going home. It’s at that time when my heart rate is elevated, I break a sweat, and some random excerpt of really annoying music will play through my head on a repeated loop, as if I’m not suffering enough.

Mind you, it’s rarely ever the whole song, except in special cases. Most of the time it’s just the first line or two, the most irritating ones, endlessly cycling until the panic attack passes. It’s either that, or if the song starts with some sound effect, it’s just the sound effect and no song whatsoever. But it sucks either way, and when I had a moment like this yesterday, I had the same thought that any rational individual would – this would make a great them for one of The Z Review’s many excellent playlists!

So sit back, have too much coffee and look at your credit card balance, while you enjoy this playlist of songs that loop relentlessly through my head, in whole or in part, while I’m having a panic attack.

The original Fig Newton jingle

Excerpt lodged in head: It’s pretty much the entire song, from the 0:08 mark to the 0:21 mark. I suppose it could be the State Farm jingle though.


Connie Francis – “Lipstick on Your Collar”

Excerpt lodged in head: The “nyeh nyeh nyeh nyeh nyeh nyeh” section that opens the song, from the 0:01 mark to the 0:09 mark. For extra realism, play this segment at home and repeat to yourself, “I’d better call my feelings doctor.”


Gloria Gaynor – “Honey Bee”

Excerpt lodged in head: It’s just the “bee” sound effect from the first four seconds of the song. I actually love the song itself, but being punished for going out to buy milk by having my head filled with the sound of hornets kind of sucks.


Wall of Voodoo – “Mexican Radio”

Excerpt lodged in head: Whatever the fuck that chromatic repeating sound is supposed to be in the first few seconds of the song, and which reappears after the choruses. That little bit captures the sound of my sanity breaking loose from its leash and darting away to play with the other dogs.


Styx – “Mr. Roboto”

Excerpt lodged in head: A brief second at the 2:35 mark where singer Dennis DeYoung sings the word “control” and howls out the last syllable like a musical theater werewolf.


Lesley Gore – “Sunshine, Lollipops and Rainbows”

Excerpt lodged in head: For the entire song, Lesley Gore does a little pause on each line, as in “sunshine, lollipops AND…. rainbows,” over and over again. On every line. I’m actually a big Lesley Gore fan, but every one of those pauses is the stab of an icepick to the part of my brain that regulates the desire to live.


Jesus Christ Superstar movie soundtrack – “This Jesus Must Die”

Excerpt lodged in head: The high-voiced Pharisee, who sings “what then to do about Jesus of Nazareth?” at the 2:05 mark in this clip. When I’m highly agitated and this excerpt shows up to say hi, it’s hard to tell whether I’d rather have it darting around in my skull, or a colony of live ants instead.


Captain Beefheart – “Dachau Blues”

Excerpt lodged in head: The horn playing at the 0:53 second mark is triggered whenever I go into Rite Aid. It’s the sound of me reaching for my Xanax and realizing I left it at home.


The Allman Brothers Band – “Jessica”

Excerpt lodged in head: The main guitar part that starts at the 0:13 mark and ends at the 0:21 mark is my soundtrack for thinking people are watching me.


ABBA – “People Need Love”

Excerpt lodged in head: The little yodelly bit at the 2:27 mark, which lasts until the song fades out. That bit just puts the thumbscrews to me every time.


About Author

Daniel Bukszpan is a freelance writer with over 20 years' experience. He has written for such publications as Fortune, CNBC and The Daily Beast. He is the author of “The Encyclopedia of Heavy Metal,” published in 2003 by Barnes and Noble and “The Encyclopedia of New Wave,” published in 2012 by Sterling Publishing.

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