With those words, the churning minor key miasma of Badflower’s “Ghost” offers a video that traces one young man’s descent into a devastation so deep, he can’t navigate his way out of it. Unsentimental, chilling, evocative, and real, the clip veers from flashbacks of a great young love about to embark on marriage and a young man consumed by grief, systematically moving through the steps of ending his own life.
“We didn’t want a video that reflected every detail of the song,” says Badflower front man Josh Katz. “The song is detailed enough on its own, that would’ve been extremely morbid even for us. So, we came up with a story about a guy whose fiancée died, and he’s staging the wedding he never had. The concept alone actually brought us all to tears just talking about it.”
Katz is no stranger to the thoughts and emotions that pull young people into the abyss that leads to suicide. As a touring musician, prolific songwriter and young man trying to find his place in the world, his struggles are very much the struggles of an entire nation trying to cope with a world growing increasingly alienated and battering.
“The song is about attempting suicide which is something I’ve never done but often think about,” Katz says of the hauntingly visceral track. “I didn’t care to write about why I would do it. The ‘why’ is pretty much always some form of overwhelming sadness. For me it comes from struggling with my mental health. But I didn’t wanna write THAT song. I wanted to write the specific details about how I would do it and what it would feel like. And what I might be thinking about in those final moments. Who it would affect and what I would leave those people with. I wanted to capture those thoughts in the rawest form, without burying them in metaphors and vagueness. So that’s what I did.”
A sober topic for the single, the 20-something artist that recognizes both the potency of “Ghost”’s message and the need for something truer in a world of “You’ll Get Through It” bromides. He understands the struggle, but also the reality of how short term a solution taking one’s life is. “I think suicide is horrible, and tragic, and I don’t support it. But I feel that tug; I know that level of sadness and confusion,” Katz concedes. “I understand what it feels like to be a stranger on this planet. There’s a million artists more qualified to inspire people to ‘stay positive’ and ‘never give up.’ And I hope to one day be in a place to provide that as well. But I’m still struggling. So for now, all can I offer is another voice that says you’re not alone.”
With suicide reaching epic numbers among young adults, Badflower offers a song that captures in excruciating detail the attempts, failures, reasons, doubts and thoughts that would accompany such an action. There is no glossing over the flattening of emotions and seething roil of frustration with a world that fails to recognize how difficult just surviving can be.
Using a muted palette, stark lighting, a bare stage for the band and a narrator taking viewers through his journey, they show – as well as sing – the twisted reality that leads to killing oneself. Neither preaching nor romanticizing, Badflower creates a dreary world that weighs down and drowns the hero in a misery he can’t escape.
“We set out to tell a specific story, but people have interpreted it in so many different ways. If you follow us on Twitter, you know how much I hate when artists make art ‘open to interpretation’ on purpose,” Katz says. “I think it’s lazy. That said, if the video makes you emotional in any way, I can’t complain.”
“Ghost” is now available at all digital retailers and streaming services and is available for immediate airplay on rock radio. It is the first single to be released on the newly created Big Machine/John Varvatos Records.
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