Often times with depression, the telltale signs are expertly masked. The inflicted could use a crude joke, a distracting hobby, or even just a simple smile to hide his or her pain, but that doesn’t make the pain invisible. As subtle as they were, Frightened Rabbit lead singer Scott Hutchison’s warning signs had been present for years. His death this past Thursday at the age of 36 came as an abrupt surprise to the music community, but it has also stimulated an analysis of his depressive behavior’s long-term prevalence in his music. As is the case with many other artists, Hutchison’s darkness was what inspired his musical light. As Pitchfork so accurately stated, “Hutchison sang about the pain of living, in a humble way that underscored just how universal this existential anguish is.”
Frightened Rabbit confirmed the startling news last Friday with this mournful post of remembrance:
There are no words to describe the overwhelming sadness and pain that comes with the death of our beloved Scott but to know he is no longer suffering brings us some comfort. Reading messages of support and hope from those he has helped through his art has helped immensely and we encourage you to continue doing this. He will be missed by all of us and his absence will always be felt but he leaves a legacy of hope, kindness and colour that will forever be remembered and shared. Rest peacefully Scott.
Grant, Billy, Andy and Simon
Tributes to Hutchison and his despondently impactful craft have poured out from all over the music community, with the below examples only representing a small fraction of the appreciation:
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What a life. What a shining, beautiful life. I remember Scott giving great Scottish hugs, cracking jokes, apologising for being drunk, always being kind. He lit up the sky with his voice, his songs, his heart, and I will forever be in awe of his genius. He was the kind of guy who, if he came up in conversation, people would talk over each other, in a hurry to say how wonderful he was. He was my friend and today I am heartbroken. Talk to someone, don’t try to keep it all inside.
Broken Social Scene:
The National’s Aaron Dessner:
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Will have a hard time thinking about anything for a while but this beautiful man and the songs he leaves behind….songs which explore the depths of human despair with such poetry. I hope they ultimately shine a brighter light on mental health issues and how precious, fragile and ephemeral life is. #scotthutchison
The following video of Hutchison breaking away from his band for a brief moment to play Frightened Rabbit’s song “The Modern Leper” back in 2013 serves as one of the most indicative examples of his unfortunate battle with depression. From his cheerfully dark opening quips to the frown that so slowly creeps upon his face, Hutchison can’t help but let his sorrow bubble up through his telling mannerisms and defeated tone. Even so, the crowd watches in amazement as Hutchison bravely confesses his heaviest burdens in his unashamed Scottish accent with the motivation of someone who writes and sings from the depths of his soul. As devastating as his death is, Hutchison’s keen ability to translate sadness into valuable and reassuring consolation for his listeners will live on, and for that we can only thank him.