I’ve been kicking around the idea of a feature where the artists explain their work for awhile now. As much as I love to explore and explain my own emotional connection with the music it’s always really intense and wonderful to truly know the details. So today we’re proud to bring you the first in our “The Breakdown” series. Kicking things off is gobbinjr.
Words: gobbinjr aka Emma Witmer
As I’ve grown older, I’ve realized that most kids didn’t grow up as independently as I did. That’s not to say that I lived by myself. I lived with my parents who worked 9-5 jobs (often overtime), my brother who left for college when I was 13, and my sister who left when I was 14, so I often felt alone in the house. I never asked my parents for help on my homework and I was too picky to eat the meals my mother made, so I would make my own. I had a job since the day I turned 15. I’d learned to depend on myself and I liked it that way, hence the opening line “I’m too good at being alone to let my talents go to waste.”
My best friend in high school was raised a very different way… to the point where being alone was possibly the most terrifying thing in her life. That’s basically the root of what this song is about. Realizing that I’m good at relying on myself, but it’s hard for others. As much as I feel I need to be alone in order to function best, I would never wish it upon my friends or family, which is why I repeated “No one should ever feel alone besides me” so often.
Besides recognition of the differences in people, this song also has roots in dealing with depression in adolescence. The whole album does. I alluded to it a couple times with lines like “All the shadows that I’ve fought…” meaning my personal experiences with depression. The title of the track itself is referring to unhealthy thought processes, negative self-talk, which can counteract anything good about yourself that you may allow yourself to think. The song “don’tchya kno” is also related to harmful psychological behaviors.
The second half of the refrain “I know that you feel alone beside me” is actually an instance of negative self-talk. I don’t actually know what people are thinking when they are next to me, but something about the way my brain is wired leads me to believe that they don’t find my presence comforting. Something in my mind tells me that I don’t keep good company. This belief is the razor blade in my candy apple.
manalang is out now through GoldFlakeTapes and Bandcamp. gobblinjr’s band will make their live debut Saturday during CMJ.