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Music to Atone To
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“It’s showtime / Got a lump in my throat / I forgot how to breathe / Only know how to choke… / I need x, ANA, x / Help me bury my thoughts.” Add “x ANA x” to a growing list of songs that explore the struggles of mental health.  Josh Katz, the frontman of rising Los Angeles alternative band Badflower serves up a captivating record centering on anxiety and dependence on the sedative, Xanax. No, “x ANA x” isn’t your traditional song title, but ultimately, it’s stylization of the word ‘Xanax’, not to mention a colorful character conjured up by Katz during the course of the record.

Katz makes it clear early-on that he has a ‘relationship’ with ‘Ana,’ the nickname that he gives to Xanax.  He plays this up throughout, starting with the first verse where he makes sexual references to the inanimate – “Judging my fucking sex ANA x ANA x / And I’m faking just to stay in my body…” Throughout the record, Katz comes over as crazed and unhinged, thanks to his necessity (perhaps, addiction). Making it even more colorful, he also incorporates spoken word portions in addition to singing.  Furthermore, the music rocks, with its mean guitars and pummeling drums serving as the perfect soundtrack to anxiety and it’s ‘fix.’

Taken over by “The kind of sickness that makes an atheist pray for Jesus,” and more tellingly, “Living a sick life that most people call privilege… but I’m still sicker than I can cope with,” Katz struggles with the pressure of fame, looking to ‘Ana’ to save him.  But, can she ultimately be his atonement? Sure, Ana slows him down, but at what cost? Definitely food for thought regarding the effects of drugs and substances. 

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About The Curator - Brent Faulkner

Brent Faulkner - Music to Curator

Slightly eccentric with interests that seem to know no ends, restless ‘Renaissance Man’ is the best way to characterize Brent Faulkner, a native of Kentucky.  A certified music educator, multi-instrumentalist, and composer known for his incredibly sharp ear, he lives and breathes music of a variety of styles.  In addition to passion for educating, performing, and writing music, he’s equally passionate blogging and writing about it, managing his own site, The Musical Hype ( When he’s not intensely analyzing music, you can find him reading or watching a movie, reality television or some sporting event.