The World Is A Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid To Die – “I Can Be Afraid Of Anything” (Stereogum Premiere)
Depression is a hole. That’s the metaphor that threads through “I Can Be Afraid Of Anything,” the second single from The World Is A Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid To Die’s upcoming sophomore album, Harmlessness. But instead of wallowing in that depression, it offers a way out. It starts at the lowest point, when all feels pointless, and lifts itself up by the song’s end. It’s a spiritual cleansing: “I wanna empty myself,” Tyler Bussey sings. “Because everything is getting rid of everything else… We are the same, but opposed.” There’s two sides fighting each other: the side that wants to get better, and the one that feels as though things never will. But there’s a revelation about halfway through the song, when you realize that the prison you’ve kept yourself in can be broken out of if you ask for help. The song even shifts gears to reflect that change, when it goes from an aggressive, pounding nod to a jubilant, bouncy sway. “I’m climbing out,” the band repeats, and then: “You can smell life here, what we call life above the ground.”
Like all of the collective’s best songs, it fills you with a sense of hope and makes you feel like anything is possible, all without diminishing or invalidating the legitimacy of the feelings that started everything off in the first place. It’s a stark but ultimately uplifting depiction of depression. It’s a sprawling, masterfully constructed epic that takes seven minutes to unfold and still makes it feel like there’s things left unsaid. Like “January 10th, 2014” before it, “I Can Be Afraid Of Anything” plays out issues on a grand scale, but in a way that’s intimate and personal. It’s one of the best songs the band has ever done, and one of the best songs of the year. Listen and read some words from co-vocalist/co-songwriter David Bello about the track below.
There’s a burden and a weight to having depression and/or anxiety. Even the glasses on your face can feel heavy. Your sweaty shirt makes you want to lay down. Take that shit off and crawl through an air-conditioned hallway. Move in with a relative and let all your subscriptions run out. Whatever it takes. Force yourself to do the dishes every night. Force yourself to ignore your friend or call your friend or make a friend or fight your friend. Tyler and I wrote the lyrics to this song, “I Can Be Afraid Of Anything”.
I started taking medication for my mental health and saw how buried in worry my everyday consciousness had been. Getting help is the best thing a person can do for oneself. It’s the feeling of waking up as an adult with joy or contentment and not hating each day just for being there to weigh you down in the morning.
Once you figure out how long you’ve gone and how much you’ve missed, you’ll wonder what took you so long to seek help. But, it’s only now that you have that motivation; now that you’re doing better. There’s nothing easy about this.