Editor’s note: As part of CMN’s ongoing music journalism program, we asked our team of music writers to take on the age-old challenge of choosing one piece of music they would like to have with them if they were stranded on a deserted island. It’s an absurd notion, but also irresistible. See all the different approaches they took to the challenge right over here.
In a state of isolation the only album I would find solace in would be KYLE’s Light of Mine.
KYLE has been known to have a “nerd” persona within his music, using background music from old video games — he even has a track called “Super Smash Bros.” — and doesn’t play into the regular stereotypes. His music isn’t centered around having materialistic things or lots of women, but advocating for those who suffer from a real epidemic in the world today: mental illness.
Being stuck on a desert island may be a nightmare for others, but being alone is something that I would look forward to. Having no one and nothing around, you would quickly learn how to be by yourself. Most people in the world today aren’t in touch with what makes them, them. Some may not even know how to be alone, but I think there is power in isolation.
Throughout Light of Mine, KYLE pushes the boundaries of subjects within hip hop. This is an album that touches on anxiety and depression: “Ups and Downs,” “Rodeo,” and “iMissMe” all highlight his experience struggling with mental illness.
With a steady and mellow beat, it draws the listener into a picture of an individual depriving himself of help and stability. Within his mind, he relishes in his depressed state. Each song has a different theme. “Zoom” has a futuristic sound that makes you feel as if you’re in space, while “Games” makes you feel as if you’re in a video game; each set of background music creates a different atmosphere. Even though each song has their own individual song they all tie back into his main message which is surviving through one’s mind.
This album speaks to those who feel alone in life, without realizing that all they need is themselves. You learn who you are, what you are, and how to stand on your own two feet through listening.
Mental illness is a subject that many generations and cultures haven’t understood, that your mind is constantly changing and it has drastic effects to how you operate in your day-to-day life.
Being on an island, I would want to be in touch with my thoughts, and be hopeful, and Light of Mine stresses that you should never feel remorseful for being sad, but instead, kn0w you are entitled to your feelings.
In “Zoom,” KYLE sings “Got a hundred miles ‘fore / I crack another smile though / I ain’t in denial, / I know this is just a trial though / Everything is fine, / I know it’s ‘gon take some time though.” Time and life has trials and tribulations, but everything will turn out fine, he seems to be saying.
Light of Mine is an album that is not only about the recognition of mental struggles, but the hope that life will get better. Being deserted on an island, this album would bring me not only peace, but fortitude. Life will get better.
This album uncovers the realness behind mental illness and that is something that would sustain me.
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