As the natural course runs its time, songs rise and fall from the music chart rankings. However, my interest of late has not been subservient to who rules the charts. There was one controversial song populating the charts’ hits which intrigued me for its curious title alone: “1-800-273-8255”, sung by the hit rapper Logic and featuring artists Alessia Cara and Khalid. It’s received remarkably mixed reviews, from “this is the most depressing song I ever heard” to “this is the most powerful song I’ve ever heard.” Not only do I personally agree with the latter opinion, I believe this is arguably one of the most impactful songs of recent days.
A Song and a Story
When this song first appeared on one of my random Spotify radio channels, I was naturally confused about the title. Could this be one of those songs where you call the random phone number and hear a cool message from a celebrity? Though 1-800-273-8255 won’t, in fact, direct you to a celebrity, it may direct you to salvation. The digits comprising this song’s title is the number for the National Suicide Prevention Hotline. The song itself reflects the title in a haunting, powerful way. Sung by artist Logic, who has opened up about his own battles with depression, the lyrics tell the story of a severely depressed man.
The song begins, “I’ve been on the low; I been taking my time. I feel like I’m out of my mind; it feels like my life ain’t mine. Who can relate?” This hook, which is repeated many times throughout the song, reflects the viewpoint of the song’s main character. It as well reflects many common symptoms of depression: feeling less motivated, being slower than usual, thinking that everything is out of your control, and totally ready to give up. This character’s depression intensifies as the lyrics go on to proclaim he just wants to die today, indicating he is considering suicide.
The song goes on to explain why the character is depressed, “I never had a place to call my own; I never had a home.” This signifies an important first step to recovery. The acknowledgment of depression, that self-awareness, is what enables the person in the song to seek help. He admits that his loneliness is the main cause of his depression, describing how no one’s calling or checking up on him.
Being There for Others
We live in a society plagued by the need for affirmation. When our friends aren’t constantly texting us or we don’t have any plans, it enables the feeling of loneliness. We rely heavily on the attention and opinions of others. This inhibits us in truly valuing ourselves and gaining self-confidence. Without that self-appreciation, depression seeps into our systems. With that said, there is certainly value in receiving the support of others. The world, after all, was created so its inhabitants could be part of a people, not having to live in isolation. Without the help of others, who would console us, be there for us when we need it most? The song is calling for a healthy balance between one’s relationship with others and relationship with one’s self.
Belief in The Process
The beautiful twist in the song gives me chills every time I listen. Shortly after the character declares the source of his depression, we learn that he is actually on the phone with the National Suicide Prevention Hotline. The hotline worker (sung by Alessia Cara) offers, among other words of support, the following: “It’s holding on, though the road’s long, and seeing light in the darkest things.” She explains to our lost protagonist that there truly is hope in this world. Even when times are hard, it’s important to be patient and trust that things will work out. It may be easier said than done, but it goes a long way to just try and see the positive.
The hotline worker concludes, “And when you stare at your reflection, finally knowing who it is, I know that you’ll thank God you did.” Through the journey of depression, it’s important not to forget the guiding presence of God. Life can be hard, but it can also be beautiful. All the good, bad, dark, and light comes from the same source: God. Acknowledging His omnipotence can bring a person comfort and confidence in the greater plan for this world. The song concludes with the main character realizing he wants to be alive.
Kudos and Kudos
It’s been a long time since a powerful song relating to mental health has hit the radio waves. Depression is one of the most pertinent issues in the young adult community, and it is truly admirable for a rapper to not only touch upon the topic but expand upon it in such a raw, meaningful way. In a series of tweets addressing his fans regarding the reason for composing the song, Logic offers that “over the years so many of you guys have told me that my music has helped you through so many tough times. I’m beyond humbled. But I felt I haven’t done enough. I felt compelled to make a song that could actually help you.”
Logic creatively delivers his message of hope to some who may need it the most and the data shows the impact it’s already had. I am confident his message will remain with us for a very long time.
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