June 2, 2023

5 years in the past right this moment, my spouse and I had been driving as much as Montreal for a protracted trip weekend. We pulled over for gasoline someplace simply earlier than we reached the Canada border, and I pulled out my cellphone to be taught that Scott Hutchison, lead singer of Frightened Rabbit, had been killed by his melancholy.

I feel that is the one time I’ve ever damaged down in tears over the dying of a celeb. (Not that he was even that massive of a “celeb” to start with!)

Hutchison’s songwriting was really unimaginable. He discovered essentially the most brutally uncooked methods to speak about his struggles with psychological well being. Much more outstanding is how typically he did it with humor, too — the black deprecation of gallows humor, positive, however in a approach that was so visceral and genuine that it made issues a lot extra actual. And he was humble, too. “Acts of Man,” the lead observe off their album Pedestrian Verse, is likely to be essentially the most excellent distillation of the idea of “poisonous masculinity” that I’ve ever heard — and Hutchison by no means shied away from the truth that he was complicit in that ugly system, too. Even when he talks about intercourse in his songs, its sticky and awkward and embarrassing and delightful.

Within the video above from 2013, Hutchison is on the brink of do an acoustic efficiency of his music “The Trendy Leper” — on a pirate ship in a forest, cuz why not? — when he notices a small little one standing close to the stage. “The Trendy Leper” offers brutally with dwelling with an invisible incapacity and the impression it may well have on relationships. For no matter motive, Hutchison is impressed. He stops the music after just a few strains, and instantly addresses the child, offering a bit of context for the music in a approach that is stunning and heartwarming, with out ever shying away from the darkness of all of it. It is a tender, foolish second — however one which’s underscored with earnestness and melancholy. I feel it is an ideal microcosm of Hutchison’s poetry.

(Associated, I noticed Frank Turner in Boston on Sunday night time, and he performed his music “A Wave Throughout the Bay” — a tribute to Hutchison that imagines the second simply earlier than his dying. It is a troublesome music, that does arguably break among the heterodoxy round discussing suicide. However I feel it is a highly effective one. And listening to it, alongside pals who’ve additionally misplaced family members to suicide, in a metropolis that Hutchison was at all times excited to go to due to the uncommon and glorious Scottish pub in my neighborhood — it was cathartic.)

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