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Floating Away [Anchored]

Floating in the Forth by Frightened Rabbits

No newline this time, because this entire post is just about the song. I realized blogging was a great release for me about a year ago. I had just moved to SF for my internship, and I was still new and stumbling around trying to find my place. One of my best friends from high school, Jake, had passed away. It hit me pretty bad, but I didn’t really process it until a couple days later. Jake was a fantastic musician, and he was the first artist I had really met I think. Someone put together a last “compilation album” for Jake, with all of his most recent work. It was sitting there that I really really realized it - he wasn’t coming back. There wasn’t going to be any more music. That… was a rough night.

I feel slightly dirty calling Jake’s death a trope, but I’m not going to pretend that the death of a musician/artist is unique or unusual. It’s a lame transition, but I heard the story of Scott Hutchison from Frightened Rabbit (FR), and wow, the similarities just hurt. Can’t claim to be the #1 FR fan, but their music often made it’s way through my radio or shuffle. Scottish alt-rock, tinged with heavy emotion, stamp my name right on it. In case you’re reading this later, or never had heard of it, Scott wrote a song about ten years ago called Floating in the Forth (linked above). It has some of the most beautiful lyrics I’ve ever read:

And fully clothed, I float away (I’ll float away) Down the Forth, into the sea I think I’ll save suicide for another day

As manic gulls Scream “it’s okay” Take your life Give it a shake Gather up All your loose change I think I’ll save suicide for another year

The whole thing merits a listen. Then another, then another, then another. I can’t think of another song that so beautifully preaches it’s grief into the wide open. It’s amazing. The most beautiful part of this is how you can hear the twisting of his readiness - he’s always ready1, what is he ready for though? Life or death? Struggle or peace? Look, I always rolled my eyes at this stuff in high school English class, but it just really makes sense here.

Anyways, he poured his entire mind, body, and soul into that track. His pain is so goddamned crystal clear I feel like I can cut diamonds with it. Sadly, ten years after publishing that song, Scott committed suicide. He followed his own words, jumping off a bridge and floating away. I have no lesson or magic here. It’s just an awful moment that hit me really hard and I wanted to share. Well, not really share, just remember it. It wrecked me for a whole day, at least. But the important part is remembering that these things can come out of anywhere at anytime. This was a ten year gap and it just happened. I don’t want to let this happen to anyone else I know. One is plenty.

  1. Might you say, he was born ready? Drum corps throwback ↩︎