The other day there was a pause in conversation with my therapist. I thought for a moment and then asked, “Is life hard?”
She blinked and said, “Yes.”
Some days she acknowledges that truth more than others. In my current valley, I am bombarded with this truth. Sometimes life can be sad. Life can be hard. Life can be rough.
My friend, knowing my struggles and the power of this song, assigned me this piece with a warning. He said, “Maybe don’t listen to it alone in your room.” I forgot his disclosure and came to understand his caution. I sat alone and listened to “Young & Depressed” by Sean Kennedy. It hit.
I won’t call it a mistake, because the outcome was experiencing an emotionally enriching song. Kennedy obviously understands the ache for youth and the ache of youth. This truth screams out from the whine of his voice to the provocative cover art. As I listened to the ethereal and human sounds of this song, I pondered the image of the little boy sitting in front of the ominous, horned mountain in the distance. The art made me unsettled as I wanted this boy to be in a safer place, and yet the boy seemed stuck by choice in this purple and blue abyss.
I think that is what Kennedy is aiming to get across with this music as well. In fact, I know it. He opens the song with a clear theme; the voice of a 1920’s radio man comes in speaking this truth: “Kids who get high repeatedly don’t want to come down.” From there, the strum of electric guitar comes in steady and we are off on an experience of the young and depressed.
This tale is one of lost youth, unfortunately. He creates unique images with his first verse of monsters being placed into heads and doctors who don’t look him in the eyes. These are very real issues that he brings to life with his voice. Kennedy has a range in his voice that talks of the mental disease with a depth, and then flings into the chorus with a high, clear declaration.
People do some fucked up things
when they get older,
but, deep down, I bet
they still feel young and depressed.
This line is upsetting, but is delivered so well. It trickles down your spine with its sound. There are bells, strings, beats, and more that make his words more powerful and even lively. It hits.
The second verse quiets and slows a bit as he sings of a girl named Katie who is as troubled as himself. As he directs her through this acute pain, he concludes with one reminder:
Remember Katie, big girls don’t cry.
It is as if he is telling himself this, too. As the song heads towards a conclusion, it builds, and then fizzles out. Kennedy leaves it realizing that we all hurt, old and young, happy and sad. Everyone, including Kennedy, gets lost sometimes.
I think back to the conclusion of my conversation with my therapist. Yes, life continues on with challenges and pains, weaving and breaking. More so, though, we grow used to change somehow, hopefully, accepting each wave and moving with it. I feel this feeling in the fading out music of “Young & Depressed.” Sean Kennedy knows the reality and keeps moving. It hits.
This song is a hit.
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