In recent years, we as a society have made great strides towards destigmatizing mental illness. That doesn’t mean there isn’t more work to do, though. Watching a friend go through mental illness is always tough, and anyone who genuinely and fully supports them through the process is to be commended. Be The Bear (Sweden’s Christina Wehage) has been there in that supporting role before. She’s combined that experience with mythological imagery on her new single “Mermaid,” premiering right here.
“Mermaid” is softer than Wehage’s previous releases, with keys and synths operating in gentle, hushed tones for much of the track. This is still Be The Bear though, so she still makes room for billowing electronics and a bold, powerful sonic push in the chorus. She spends the lyrics gently encouraging her friend to keep going, and affirming that their love for each other will endure through everything, all wrapped in many sea-based metaphors like drifting through the water. Between the soothing sounds and the comforting words, “Mermaid” will thoroughly warm your heart.
Wehage explained the origin of both the subject and the imagery of “Mermaid” in a statement. She says:
“‘Mermaid’ is about a specific event in my life when a friend was in a mental hospital, writing it was my way of dealing with the situation, and saying I was there. So, yeah, it’s a pop song about mental illness, but it’s also just a love song for someone close to me. I think it’s important that we talk about mental illness and end the taboo around it since it doesn’t help the people involved at all. I named it ‘Mermaid’ because it reminds me of the imagery from H.C. Andersen’s Danish folktale, the original ‘Little Mermaid.’ Did you know, in the original story she sacrificed herself for love, and ended up becoming a whisper on the wind? Mermaids don’t have eternal souls, but she finds out how she can acquire one, and spends 300 years doing good deeds with other ‘Daughters of the Air.’”
You can listen to Be The Bear’s new single “Mermaid” below.