This week, numerous notable artists have released covers to highlight how music can raise our spirits and help to turn things around during tough times. The project, ‘Torch
‘Torch Songs’ aims to show that “it’s not unusual to struggle sometimes,” and encourages both artists and fans to share their ‘torch song,’ a track that guides them out of darkness. The project has been championed by Radio One DJ Huw Stephens, and the songs that have been recorded so far are ‘Hope’ (The Descendents) by The Vaccines, ‘Both Sides Now’ (Joni Mitchell) by Years & Years, ‘This Year’ (The Mountain Goats) by Frank Turner, ‘Everything Reminds Me of Her’ (Elliott Smith) by Blaenavon, ‘Solsbury Hill’ (Peter Gabriel) by Tall Children, ‘My Funny Valentine’ (Chet Baker) by Tom The Lion, ‘Bloodbuzz Ohio’ (The National) by Lewis Fieldhouse, and ‘Month of May’ (Arcade Fire) by Neil Cowley Trio.
Frank Turner chose ‘This Year’ by the Mountain Goats, which features the powerful lyrics, “I’m going to make it through this year if it kills me,” as he said, “I had a rough time of it in 2014 and 2015, for various reasons, both personal and professional. That song arrived in my life during that time and quickly became my battle anthem for surviving the slings and arrows.” He also commented on the project, “Music has always been a sanctuary for me, as it is for many people. ‘Torch Songs’ is a wonderful way of highlighting that and trying to make a difference in the campaign against living miserably.”
The Vaccines said of their choice, ‘Hope’ by The Descendents, “My relationship with songs like this one has helped me immeasurably through the years to get through tough times and I sometimes wonder what I’d do without them.” The band have also highlighted the importance of tackling the stigma around male mental health, “Obviously a lot of men find opening up and talking about their struggles and their feelings very difficult. I myself have been told to “shut the fuck up” by friends when trying to open up, and I think it’s a real problem we face.”
Listen to the songs from the Vaccines, Frank Turner and Years & Years below: