Movements lament depression & suicidal ideation on 'Don't Give Up Your Ghost'

25 July 2020 | 8:19 am | Alex Sievers
Originally Appeared In

Movements reveal their second album with a powerful and moving single, 'Don't Give Up Your Ghost.'

Movements have revealed their second album with a powerful, moving single about mental health & helping others, 'Don't Give Up Your Ghost.'

Movements have never been an extreme or chaotic sounding band. However, in contrast to the heartfelt alt-rock and moody post-hardcore sounds of 2017's 'Feel Something,' their newest single - taken from the forthcoming second LP, 'No Good Left To Give' - is quite different in tone. Softer in its vocals and guitars, much darker in theme and widely more dynamic than much of what's come before it, some may (erroneously, I feel) see this as a "poppier" direction for the American four-piece, with it's more subdued moments and sparser guitar licks. Which would be the wrong hill to die on, horribly redundant, and a real disservice to the emotional message in 'Don't Give Up Your Ghost.'

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The obvious message behind 'Don't Give Up Your Ghost' is to talk down a friend (or anyone, really) from taking their own lives - a position the band members themselves have been in before, as the song says. It's a musical letter of support to let people who are struggling know that suicide isn't the answer; that it can't be undone; that there's more to live for. That there's a fire inside worth stoking and re-igniting. It's a haunting song that blatantly screams in your face: "it's okay to not to be okay, you are not weak for speaking up, no matter who you are."

'Don't Give Up Your Ghost' also heavily battles with feelings of guilt when we are, intentionally or unintentionally, not there for those when they truly needed us. In the animated film clip (seen below), we see the band practicing together, inevitably missing a dire phone call from a desperate friend who cannot "see the green underneath the snow." Directed by lead background artist, Ben Kadie - with lead character animator Eric Bradford, fellow background artist Daichi Sakane, character designer Marina Fueta, and additional character animation from Alejandro Segura - the music video is tragic. The solemn, lonely nighttime city is striking as the protagonist wanders it by themselves - stalked by a winged demon that looks like it's straight out of a Studio Ghibli flick (just with a much smaller budge.) The monster here being a manifestation of the character's own looming depression and suicidal thoughts.

It all rather bleakly ends with this character seemingly allowing themselves to be swooped up by this metaphorical creatures talons, with the band arriving on the scene mere seconds too late to save them. The band left alone and wondering, knowing, that they could've done something sooner. It's a somewhat upsetting but also sobering ending for the film clip. For sometimes, there isn't a happy ending. Sometimes, the signs aren't noticed before it's too late. That's the real tragedy of what 'Don't Give Up Your Ghost' is sharing. Which is all the more reason as to why action must be taken; why difficult but helpful conversations need to be had with those around us when we can see them holding that pain in.

[caption id="attachment_1109384" align="aligncenter" width="760"] Movements new album, 'No Good Left To Give,' is out September 18th, 2020 via Fearless Records.[/caption]

What 'Don't Give Up Your Ghost' gets right is how it hits right at the core of feelings of personal strife and mental illness; thoughts of anxiety, inadequacy, depression, and the like. Making Patrick Miranda's words of "Where’d you learn how to hate yourself? I’ll wager it was somebody else" and "There’s no truth when I can’t get through. You’re in your head when I’m next to you." Add these sentiments delivered via vulnerable vocal hooks - that fittingly rise and fall with the instrumentals - to a sombre soundscape of light piano notes, fluid and percussive tom beats, low grumbling bass lines, and minimal guitar figures, all amidst evocative dynamics and shouted vocals, and you have one of Movements' finest tracks. (I also love the sweet tones that Austin Cressey and Ira George have nailed on the bass and guitars.)

Patrick spoke about the tone of this song and the larger vibe of their upcoming second LP, sharing:

"It talks about depression and suicidal thoughts and tendencies. It's told from the perspective of a person who is dealing with a friend who confides that he or she has attempted to kill him or herself. However, this person has been there as well and has even made suicide attempts, too. The person tries to console the friend and let him or her know she's not alone. It's about not giving up when there's so much more the world can offer. Even though you're in a certain place right now, it doesn't mean you're going to be in the same place forever.

At its core, the new record is what we've always been, which is emotional, real, and honest music. We all know each other very well and understand our respective styles. We're discussing mental health, struggles with relationships, and relatable things from our lives. At the same time, it’s a little darker."

Remember: you're not alone. If you're hurting, reach out, and if you know someone who is struggling, be the first one to extend a helping hand. It can make a world of difference.

For more information and support regarding suicide, please see Suicide Prevention Australia and Lifeline.