Depression is something that I’ve dealt with in waves since I was in middle-school. I’m familiar enough with this cycle that plagues my brain that I’ve come to expect and accept that this is just part of who I am. I can feel those waves start to form when they’re nothing more than ripples from a stone thrust into the waters of my mental health. It starts in my chest and begins to work its way up my throat, clawing and scratching at my brain until I feel like I don’t have any other options but to cave in and accept defeat. I feel like I’ve been pretty open with my struggle with mental health across the internet, but I don’t think that I can say that I’ve felt any more solidarity in this struggle than when I sat down and listened to Bogues‘ new record for the first time.
No conversation has ever felt quite as inviting as the discomfort and nervous energy at the helm of “Unpacking Boxes” opening lyric, “I’m not at home in my brain/Just a visitor on the couch, nervous to ask for a drink” as its crooned over one of the most musically delicate passages on the record. And nothing has ever felt as powerful as the second time that we’re graced with the lyrics “I’m waiting on a seasonal change/the return of leaves/the first bud of proof that I’m not stuck in my ways” or the way that they pre-date a fuzzed out distortion and angelic wailing of “I’m waiting on a seasonal change.”
The power behind his songwriting is second only to the beautiful way that Bogues is able to control the emotional tide of his music. There’s a firm understanding of the power of quiet restraint that’s shown throughout the whole of this record, which is something that I talked about when I shared the music video for “Transcendentalism” with y’all a couple weeks ago, saying that Bogues is “an artist who can take the quiet moments and make them feel just as illustrious” as loud, abrasive breakdowns tend to be.
It’s the masterful execution of dynamic control on Life, Slowly that makes every single note employed by Bogues feel pointed and poignant. Lyrically, this record reads like a powerfully cathartic wretch — purging every possible emotion from your throat and begging for just a second where you feel content. It comes across on “From Orchard to Bartnick” as his vocals careen around the lyrics “Am I a bad person?/If I am, I hope you forget about me like you do most things?” and again on “Transcendentalism” as he surrenders to the weight of moving forward with lyrics like “I think I depend on you too often/or at least you as a concept/the person’s as good as forgotten.”
I’m elated to share the masterpiece that is Life, Slowly with y’all ahead of it’s release this Friday. You can stream the record in full below.
Life Slowly is out March 2nd. Snag your copy of the record here.