By Mark Glenister
Mental Health is now something that is talked about openly, the phrase ‘Its ok to not be ok’ is used across social media, as well as hashtags dedicated to Mental Health and Mental Health awareness. Newspapers, TV and the internet are full of stories about people’s battles with this illness, and I personally think this is great. This is something that needs to be discussed and not hidden in the shadows, its sufferers are people to be listened to, not ignored or lambasted for having a ‘bad day’, because a bad day doesn’t cover what people with this illness go through on an a minute by minute basis, day in day out!
This hasn’t always been the case, and its only the past few years that the above has become the normal, before then, it was something that you didn’t talk about, if you suffered, then you suffered in silence. If you didn’t suffer, then people with mental illness were a sign of ridicule, or people to be avoided at all costs. Thankfully those dark days seem to be behind us and having suffered myself with mental illness for most of my adult life, I am glad we can finally be open and battle this together. You can read about my own experience here.
In recent years we have seen a new wave of bands and artists coming through, that are open about mental health, both in their interviews and in the music that they write. Artists like Frank Carter, IDLES, Loyle Carner, LIFE, JOHN and many others, have all talked and sung about depression, anxiety and all forms of Mental Illness.
The latest band to cover this subject are ‘In Earnest’ an alt/indie trio from Southend-on-Sea, formed in 2019 and whose debut single ‘Put Me Under’ released this week, is a very personal and honest account of dealing with depression and how be alone can make you feel – both subjects that given the current Corona Virus, a lot of people are perhaps experiencing for the very first time.
The song is a starting point to open up a discussion about mental illness, and I feel the lyrics will be understood by those suffering, but also maybe an invitation to those who are fortunate not to suffer to perhaps understand this illness a bit better.
The lyrics really struck a chord with me, the opening line speaks of ‘Now and then I have a stock take of my mind’ which is something I do on a regular basis, clearing out the negative thoughts and the worries that I cannot control. I learnt a phrase last week that sums this up ‘Push the Delete button, and log out all the fear’, its something that as sufferers we have to try and do to exist on a daily basis.
The following line ‘I’ll never be lonely with a dog beside’ can be viewed in a few ways, when I first read it, it spoke of the Black Dog that depression suffers call their illness, it’s a companion by your side, never far away, like a loyal pet. However, it can also be viewed as having a pet, whether it be a dog, cat or rabbit (other pets are available), a creature that keeps you company, makes you feel less alone. I know from experience, having 2 cats, that I’ve had a many a conversation with them when I am alone, they don’t answer back (I would be concerned of my well-being if they did) but it just feels good to say these feelings out loud and not get judged. Reading through their press release, I feel line relates to a real dog, that is the source of companionship that a lot people need.
The beauty of this song lies in the fact that if you are suffering from a mental illness, you will hear the words and they will perhaps resonate with you and your experiences. But, if you do not suffer, you can hear this song and it may go some way to explain what people go through if they have depression, anxiety or are feeling lonely.
All these lyrics are written from the perspective of lead singer Sarah, who voice has a fragile beauty to it initially, but her strength of character grows as does the song. The lyrics are supported by the other band members Thomas and Toby, the use of acoustic and electric guitar in tandem brings an ethereal feel as the song builds to its crescendo and the haunting last words. It will be interesting to see how their other songs fit in with this track, but as a starting point it will hopefully make people talk and take notice.
Its important to talk about mental health, and a medium like music is an ideal platform to be open and honest, I hope all the bands that are openly discussing this including ‘In Earnest’ continue to make their voices heard, it’s the best way we can fight this illness.
‘Put Me Under’ is the first single from their upcoming EP and is self-released on the Neat Siren Label.
The song will be available on Spotify from Friday 17th April at
In Earnest Social Media:
Instagram: @inearnestband Website: www.inearnest.co.uk