Listen to the song before you read the post. It has spoilers.
I’m not fucking around.
I was walking around Tokyo listening to two podcasts I think are wonderful: Charles Adrian’s Muselings and Ross Sutherland’s Imaginary Advice. Charles is always incredibly open and raw about his life, experiences, emotions, and in the episode I was listening to, he talked about his mental health; I find it very inspiring, because I can feel so much shame and self-consciousness and self-indulgence in talking about myself. In the Imaginary Advice episode (a director’s commentary on his wonderful video piece, Stand By For Tape Backup), Ross talked about how making the project allowed him to realise he was depressed, and to talk about his depression; it’s something he’s alluded to elsewhere in the series, but here it was more boldly stated.
And I realised over all the years of writing miserable songs, of talking about how seriously we should take and make space for and support mental health, in RTing mental health discussions and causes – in talking elliptically about my own mental health, I’d never used the word depression. Although it was probably pretty obvious that I’d been depressed, and that I wasn’t a particularly small or exclusive club.
And three things struck me, almost simultaneously. Firstly, that my next song had to include the word “depression”, that would be the most important and only writing constraint. And secondly, that depression, you’re a needy fuck. After all these years of pain, you’re giving me shit – for not saying your name out loud? And then it dawned on me that, if this were a relationship, one that had existed over many many years, and I never once mentioned someone by name, and only talked about them publicly in the most oblique ways – that would be a big red flag for them. And there it was – a song written from the point of view of my depression, asking why I was gaslighting it and airbrushing it from my life.
Musically, it’s super simple but I think it’s one of the best things I’ve ever written. It’s groovy af. I hope you see why I didn’t want to spoiler the song; because you really should be on the side of the gaslit character singing the song (at least the verses) – at least until “my” voice arrives at the end to identify who that character is. Depression, you’re a needy fuck. Depression, you’re a hungry dog.
Next week, I find a way to time travel, but only for short periods.
Pre order Year of The Bird, Volume 2 at https://palebird.bandcamp.com/album/year-of-the-bird-volume-2 this week and you’ll get the download of this track (and all previous tracks) right away, and the full album when it’s released on July 8th, 2019! Why not listen to Volume 1, too: https://palebird.bandcamp.com/album/year-of-the-bird-volume-1