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“Janet Planet” by TOPS: The Internal Tussle

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“Janet Planet” is TOPS’s spunky take on the struggle of getting out of your own head. It’s a refreshing track with classic production that touches on a relatable predicament — mental health and the internal tussle we have with ourselves every day. 

TOPS band member Jane Penny described the song to be about “feeling trapped inside of your own head, trapped by your thoughts, trapped by everything, looking for an escape, and all of the misguided ways I’ve tried to dispel these feelings.” We see this throughout the lyrics of the song.

I’ll be fine once I get up off this planet of mine / Anything will do / I just need a nice distraction or two / Really anything ought to do

I love the chorus. These are simple statements but they carry so much weight for people struggling with their mental health. Everyone talks about the light at the end of the tunnel and encourages you to keep going because things will get better. You tell yourself that things will get better if you can get out of the rut. What tends to happen, though, is people become so desperate to feel better that they will go to unhealthy measures to numb the pain.

Some people turn to alcohol to drown out the mental noise. Other people smoke to keep overthinking at bay. You become so desperate to feel normal that you find a quick fix and latch on. We can hear that desperation in these lines. The vocalist begs for a release form her own mental prison, by any means necessary. Anything will do, really.

Feel so bored and uptight / Let’s get loose, I need fuel for the night / Just keep looking for more / ‘Til I’m a total disaster / A walking red engine light 

As the song progresses, we see the singer fall deeper into her vices. This is the reality of unhealthy coping mechanisms — as soon as unpleasant feelings start to surface, you yearn for that thing that will make it all go away. It’s self-medicating at its worst, and what people realize (often too late) is that instead of relying on your vice when the really bad moments hit, over time you end up relying on it for every single small inconvenience. The vice becomes your peace, and you forget how to find it naturally. You develop dependence until you are a disaster, as the band indicates. 

I love it when musicians take a heavy topic and make it more digestible through music. Mental health is something that can be difficult to address, but anyone who hears this song that has gone through this will instantly feel heard and represented. Not to mention, hearing what unhealthy coping can do to a person in the long run may encourage some listeners to get help for their situations. Songs like this do more than entertain, they educate, advocate, and sometimes save lives.

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