Tag Archives: suicide

It’s in the Lyrics, Man

Another rock musician of depressing, self-absorbed, snowflake melancholy lyrics has offed himself. Not to comment on the person because I don’t want to speak ill of the dead let alone one that flung a No at existence, or rejected God’s gift (interpret at your leisure). I was not a fan of their music and know nothing about them except what I have heard at work.

But I have to ask. Is this a surprise? I still remember how shocked and saddened people were when Kurt Cobain ate that shotgun. Really? Talk about a walking billboard of self destruction.

Now, if Katrina from Katrina and the Waves (I’m Walking on Sunshine – well – and don’t you feel good!) wraps a cord around her neck, then we can be surprised. A person can show in their product and general “public” persona upbeat happiness, even joy. To you. To the perceiver. And they can be one step from offing themselves at any moment.

But you don’t usually see the opposite. The person who shows utter despair and depression in product and persona but whistling Dixie and skipping down their sidewalk in private time.

Music in general and rock in particular has been in a depressing downward, angst driven spiral of suicidal death worship for about a generation now. And I think it started with grunge.

Of course depression starting in Seattle makes perfect sense if you have ever suffered their 9 to 10 month rain/drizzle/grey sky/drizzle/rain/grey/grey/rope around neck/rain season. It is enough to make Matthieu Ricard take a back flip off the Space Needle and create his own brain omelet on the sidewalk below.

Hey, I’m creating a little depression right here! Hoo Ha!

I don’t listen to any modern music especially youth music. For one I am no longer a youth and a lot of it simply doesn’t speak to me. Second I didn’t grow up at a time when youth thought like that. The depressing kids when I was growing up listened to REM or The Cure, but it was mostly a fad thing for them. A lot of them wore their despondency with the same shallowness that their mall bought goth accessories were attained.

Going further back generation-wise. My brother once called my mother on the telephone, my mother is 75, to talk about how depressed he was feeling. Her response – “Get over it.”

And that is about the crux of it right there.

But I like evidence so let’s take a look at a couple of representative lyrics here. The first is Numb by Linkin Park. This song is almost an archetype of the modern lyric. Note the focus (and the projection) on the expectations, perceived or real, of the other and the victim status of the focal person. This is pure victim music. It is almost a complete lack of self in these lyrics, the person’s existence is really just an extension of the oppressor’s domination which is achieved by the Victim’s supposed lack.

And it is depressing as shit. It is a song of failure. [In fact in looking over this band’s lyrics, I encountered the word failure at least a dozen times in different songs.]

I’m tired of being what you want me to be
Feeling so faithless, lost under the surface
I don’t know what you’re expecting of me
Put under the pressure of walking in your shoes
Caught in the undertow, just caught in the undertow
Every step that I take is another mistake to you
Caught in the undertow, just caught in the undertow

I’ve become so numb, I can’t feel you there
Become so tired, so much more aware
By becoming this all I want to do
Is be more like me and be less like you

Can’t you see that you’re smothering me?
Holding too tightly, afraid to lose control
‘Cause everything that you thought I would be
Has fallen apart right in front of you
Caught in the undertow, just caught in the undertow
Every step that I take is another mistake to you
Caught in the undertow, just caught in the undertow
And every second I waste is more than I can take!

I’ve become so numb, I can’t feel you there
Become so tired, so much more aware
By becoming this all I want to do
Is be more like me and be less like you

And I know I may end up failing too
But I know you were just like me with someone disappointed in you

I’ve become so numb, I can’t feel you there
Become so tired, so much more aware
By becoming this all I want to do
Is be more like me and be less like you

I’ve become so numb, I can’t feel you there
I’m tired of being what you want me to be
I’ve become so numb, I can’t feel you there
I’m tired of being what you want me to be

Now, let’s take a look at 1980’s Back in Black which not only ushered in a decade but is pretty representative for the decade that followed. Note the complete lack of victimhood here. In fact one would have to wonder if the person here possesses victims himself, so over the top is the bravado. There is no depression to be found here, this is spit out a nail and get to work. Yes, I have a preference – I choose anything to despair. This song is the winning throw in the Super Bowl, the grand slam at Fenway Park – it is a maniacal boastful resurrection and winning. [I would have put the lyrics to Walking on Sunshine to contrast but I was trying to keep the genres similar.]

Back in black
I hit the sack
I’ve been too long I’m glad to be back
Yes, I’m let loose
From the noose
That’s kept me hanging about
I’ve been looking at the sky
‘Cause it’s gettin’ me high
Forget the hearse ’cause I never die
I got nine lives
Cat’s eyes
Abusin’ every one of them and running wild

‘Cause I’m back
Yes, I’m back
Well, I’m back
Yes, I’m back
Well, I’m back, back
Well, I’m back in black
Yes, I’m back in black

Back in the back
Of a Cadillac
Number one with a bullet, I’m a power pack
Yes, I’m in a bang
With a gang
They’ve got to catch me if they want me to hang
‘Cause I’m back on the track
And I’m beatin’ the flack
Nobody’s gonna get me on another rap
So look at me now
I’m just makin’ my play
Don’t try to push your luck, just get out of my way