Phantogram is back with a poignant new single, “Someday,” as part of a mental health initiative in part with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
After two years of processing the tragic loss of Sarah Barthel’s sister (and Josh Carter’s childhood friend) Becky to suicide, the duo release their new song that touches on the unspeakable grief, self-blame and sorrow that ensue after a loved one takes their own life.
“We started work on ‘Someday’ during the Three sessions – it was based on a beat Josh made from samples of the Al Green songs ‘I’m Still in Love with You’ and ‘Livin’ for You.’ But then Becky’s death derailed everything in our lives and this song became too painful for us to work on,” the duo shared on Instagram. “This spring, we were able to return to the song and finish it as part of our efforts to raise awareness about suicide prevention and to destigmatize mental illness. Like so many people, we’ve been through some very dark times, but we want everyone who is suffering to know that there is help and hope in the world.”
Looking to spread a message of love to anyone struggling with depression, suicidal thoughts, or any other crisis, the song also conveys a transition toward hope, with an acknowledgement that life goes on and must be lived fully by the survivors.
Along with the song, Sarah also spoke with AFSP about her sister’s lifelong battle with depression and anxiety, the importance of not holding back when you feel the need to talk to someone, and the bottomless grief that comes from losing a loved one to suicide.
“I did have some friends growing up who attempted suicide or who died from suicide, so I had an idea of how much pain it could bring into others’ lives,” she says. “But this has been the hardest death I’ve ever had to deal with – and I’ve had a lot of close people in my life pass. Suicide is really complicated, because in a way, it’s like an illness people blame on themselves. Mental health conditions are just as powerful as physical illnesses. What’s dangerous is that people aren’t as educated about it.”
“We never learned about this subject in school,” she adds. “Even our parents, or friends, might have a tendency to brush ‘mental illness’ under a rug because of a sense of shame. This kind of stigma can lead to discrimination and judgment. Sometimes, the discrimination can even be obvious and direct, like someone making a negative remark about your mental illness or your treatment.”
Barthal ended the interview with some encouraging words, “You are only capable of changing yourself. Nobody else. Put the work into every possible corner of yourself. Your brain is the biggest, most important muscle in your body; take care of it. Talk to someone about your feelings. Things can get better. I promise.”
“Someday” was released as a two-part single with the B-side being an unreleased cover of Sparklehorse’s “Saturday.” Proceeds from sales and streams of both tracks (available on multiple outlets) will go towards the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.