Editor’s Note: We are very honored to be offering the exclusive EP stream of “S.O.S. Songs On Suicide” by emerging artist BLAKE RED via Madness To Creation. Show her some love at the following locations:
About S.O.S. (Songs on Suicide):
Track 1 – Face It – I call SOS opening track, “Face It”, the anxiety anthem! It was the very first song I wrote and recorded as BLAKE RED. It highlights the forced isolation and self-hatred manifested in mental illnesses such as anxiety and depression. The song also touches briefly on the subject of substance abuse that’s commonly paired with mental health disorders. I wrote “Face It” about my own battle with social anxiety, depression and how hard it is to maintain relationships and semblance of a social life. The resulting feeling of not being able to function as a “normal” human is an unbearable and very painful amount of shame.
“Face It” illustrates two different voices often present in my head, one loving (that of myself), and one hating (that of the illness). An important thing I learned while working through my issues was how to better control my own self-talk because too much of it was unbelievably negative and extremely toxic. Although the negative self-talk is dominant throughout the song, the chorus brings the other voice to light. The negative voice says “I can’t show my face, no I can’t” while the positive voice insists “Face it!”. This shows that a part of me realizes the only way to escape the dark hole is to face the core of my anxiety head on. Overall “Face It” sends a positive message and shows that part of me remains strong and will continue to fight despite all the harmful thoughts and feelings. Throughout the following songs on SOS hope dissipates and the battle becomes nearly impossible. Unfortunately this is in line with reality for many people who aren’t receiving help and treatment for their declining mental health.
Track 2 – Razorblade – In the next track, “Razorblade”, my character was unable to defeat the demons presented in “Face It”. Without appropriate treatment, mental health conditions can only become more severe. Asking for help can be extremely difficult, not only because of the nature of these diseases but also the widespread stigma that has surrounded mental illness for centuries.
“Razorblade” depicts the illness worsening as harmful thoughts begin to multiply. Here, the idea of physical self-harm is presented for the first time on SOS. During the lyric writing process I was focused on my own metaphorical perception of a razor blade. A razor blade symbolizes any kind of vice that clearly isn’t good for you, but helps soothe the pain in a desperate and otherwise hopeless moment. This brings to mind a number of pitfalls including drugs, alcohol, gambling, an overabundance/restriction of food, and any sort of reckless activity or behavior enacted in an effort to cope or self medicate. One reason mental health education is so important is because it can help prevent a wide range of harmful behaviors that are often a side effect of mental health disorders. These commonly include alcoholism/substance abuse, eating disorders and other various compulsions. The line “everybody’s got a way” eludes to the overall metaphor.
Another thing worth noting in “Razorblade” is the wide range of emotions that are presented and supported dynamically within the music. The soft, sullen verses highlight pure sadness, bitter pain and how extremely vulnerable one is in a depressed state of mind. The dynamics of the pre-chorus and chorus are much more explosive, highlighting the aggravation and endless frustration of being stuck in this kind of situation. It’s very important to realize that the negative, hateful voice as I mentioned in regards to “Face It”, is the same voice saying to “go pick up your razor blade”.
Track 3 – Let It Hurt – By this point my character’s mental health is rapidly deteriorating. There’s no longer a separation of the good and bad voices. Now the negative self talk is pretty much the only audible voice left in the psyche. Suicidal thoughts are ever-present and increasingly persistent. “Let It Hurt” shows the impending doom of someone who’s forgotten how to love and care for themselves. The self hatred is so strong by this point that the person really doesn’t care whether they live or die, in fact they’d prefer to die. Death seems to be the only escape from this never ending nightmare.
I held nothing back in the lyrics of “Let It Hurt”, they are very blunt and somewhat graphic. It’s immediately evident that my character has been bullied enough by the hateful voice insisting “go” in the previous song to self-harm. This is an extremely dangerous stage in the downward spiral chronicled in SOS. The chorus lyric “It’ll hurt, let it hurt, if it burns, let it burn” shows that my character has no regard for her well being and plans to continue harming herself. In verse 2 she stands from a rooftop and imagines jumping off. She’s very close to doing so but is stopped only by the thought of her family and friends. She avoids suicide at that moment but continues to inflict serious physical pain on herself. The extended choruses include the lyrics “She weeps in silence, tiptoes through the hall, endures self violence, did it on her own all alone”. This portrays someone who feels all alone in the world and is incapable of reaching out to anyone for help.
Track 4 – Through the Sky – The epic final track “Through the Sky” shows my character at rock bottom. The negative self talk has completely taken over her mind and she can’t differentiate the voice of the illness and her own thoughts. The verses of the song speak of the hateful voices now constantly echoing in her head. They say things like she’s not worthy, she’s guilty, she won’t succeed, and that she’s a nobody.
This song is meant to show the reality of a person who is driven to end their life. There’s absolutely no clarity left in her mind and suicide is the only thing that truly makes sense in her broken reality. Loved ones are no longer considered a reason to stay because she genuinely believes that she’s nothing but a burden and they’re better off without her. After the abuse of the constant negative self-talk she utters the lines “So when’s the funeral? I’m about to let go”, then wails in bitter agony during the choruses, “Send me through the sky, I’m demoralized, this is not a life, I give up the fight”. During a brief moment of partial clarity in the bridge, my character warns “Don’t listen to the voice inside your head” but feels it’s still too late for her to take her own advice. The tolling bells represent the impending death of BLAKE RED throughout the song. The 8 bell tolls at the end of the song represent the death of my character, one bell for each letter B-L-A-K-E-R-E-D.
In conclusion, SOS is based largely on my own battle with depression and anxiety. I also drew inspiration from the mental health crises I’ve witnessed in others around me including family, friends, classmates and other piers/acquaintances. This is my effort to speak for those who like me, are battling mental illness every day. I want SOS to be a reminder that we are never alone, in fact 1 in 5 adults in America will experience a mental illness in their lifetime. Suicide awareness and mental health education is absolutely crucial for our survival. This story, like too many, did not have a happy ending and that’s why I will continue to advocate for mental health awareness throughout my career. I’m very lucky to be here today and I greatly appreciate the opportunity to share my story!