Home Song Reviews Carousel’s “Firesong” is a Rally Against Emotional Repression

Carousel’s “Firesong” is a Rally Against Emotional Repression

by Shawn Ambrose

Why is it so difficult to open up about our mental health?

Maybe it’s because many people mistakenly think it’s a sign of weakness and fragility.  This leads to a feeling of shame and a fear of speaking about it openly.

Moreover, we all want to maintain a strong, stoic appearance and not be defined by our disease.

In certain instances, it can also be tougher to open up to family members and close friends because they have a certain impression of you which you don’t want to ‘ruin’.

Indie-Americana band Carousel explores this predicament in their latest single, “Firesong”, where they explore the difficulties of opening up about mental health to loved ones.

For most of the song, the instrumentals take a back seat to the emotive harmonies of the two lead singers. Chris Hobart’s soulful voice is the perfect companion to Sarah Holburn’s angelic, soaring vocals. The beautiful blend of their voices creates an affecting euphony.     

Gather round and tell us your stories.
We’ve got until morning,
then the sun comes back again.
Firelight, show us your heart,
teach me to restart
a tale without time.

You can stay up all night talking to your friends but you often find it difficult to lay bare your most troubling thoughts. After so many trifling conversations, how can you “restart” and speak about what’s really affecting you?

Let’s forget our names –
I can’t stand to stay the same.

The harmonies cease and Chris Hobart takes over here. The subtle vibrato in his vocals emphasizes how much he desires to verbalize his thoughts and ease the burden of suffering in silence.

He wants his friend and him to forget their “names”, forget they know each other and open up like strangers in a support group.

Fire and a song –
we all need to have someone.
Desire to belong –
to mean something to someone. 

Sarah Holburn returns in the chorus and sings in unison with Chris. The chorus of their voices emphasizes the togetherness their words call for.

We all need someone to talk to, especially when our mental health is at stake. But our “desire to belong” often prevents us from revealing our true selves.    

Circle round, believe in the good.
Together, we stood.
A friend in need,
pain hurts here, shoulder to shoulder,
as my blood grows older,
but time keeps on.

Believing things will get better is always hard when your mind constantly reinforces the opposite. A friend or loved one can bring you back to a place where you have faith in the future and believe in the good in life.

Darkness closes up upon us. 
Don’t you dare lay down.

Up until this point, “Firesong” had maintained a mellow and restrained tone, mirroring the suppression of thoughts in those who stay silent about their pain.

But Chris and Sarah’s voices then converge and swell into an uplifting rally, urging the listener to stay strong until the “darkness” clears.

Mental illness is debilitating, going through it alone is unimaginable.

“Firesong” has a clear message; even if your illness envelopes you, resist it, talk to someone, and most importantly, don’t give in.   

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