The Honest Unraveling and Constant Re-Raveling of Scott Hutchison
When Scott Hutchison was young, his mother declared him a frightened rabbit, adopting a name for his timidity. Fifteen years ago, that epithet gained a band, a discography, and a family when Scott formed Frightened Rabbit, the Scottish folk-rock band that would go on to touch the lives of thousands with their orchestral swells of buzzing indie arrangements and their in-your-face honest lyricism.
On May 11th, Scott's body was found in Edinburgh, three days after Scott penned troubling tweets and two days after his official disappearance found his family floundering in worry about his whereabouts. The world has come together since, degrees of heartbreak flooding in from longtime fans and fellow musicians. We have felt Scott's power for years, felt his utter honesty wrap around us like a hug, felt his words like punches to the gut. This tragedy is far-reaching.
Scott Hutchison struggled with depression for years, but instead of suffering in silence, he bravely pushed it out into the world, using his work with Frightened Rabbit as a platform to get real about the debilitating inconsistencies and strife of mental illness. He was always candid about the duality of his warring emotions, singing lines like "I feel better and better and worse and then better" and "I'm not miserable now (I am, I am, I am, I am)."
Scott's songwriting never tried to hide anything; instead, it revealed everything. Songs like "Keep Yourself Warm" act as a brutal reminder to oneself that sex can't save us while "I Wish I Was Sober" is a resigned epiphany that alcohol can't either. "Holy" finds Scott in contention with religion, claiming "Don't care if I'm lonely / Cause it feels like home / I'll never be holy / Thank God I'm full of holes, full of holes." With songs like these, Scott reached out a hand to the hurting, to the sinners, to the ones pockmarked by holes, weighed down by grief, bruised with blue. It was through his songwriting that Scott divulged his deepest truths, a cathartic practice that admirably became the liaison between the hurting and the hope.
Ten years ago, Scott wrote "Floating In The Forth," a sparkling track foreshadowing his death. Singing, "Fully clothed, I'll float away / Down the Forth, into the sea," he finishes out the song with a line that has reassured and empowered listeners for a decade: "I think I'll save suicide for another year." A chilling, electric arrangement swarms before the track ends, left floating in the ether as silence resounds.
Scott Hutchison was a poet, but his candor and eloquence in fumbling through life's monotony, obstacles, and tragedies made him a hero. He never claimed to get it right. He was honest about the darkness that frequently enveloped him, but he never stopped groping for a lightswitch. This is the thing about depression: it has claws. It grabs you, shakes you, robs you. It hides in the shadows sometimes, but it doesn't let go. Scott Hutchison was endlessly brave about navigating its murky ambush. No one is immune to the only constant in this life: our own relentless unraveling and re-raveling.
It has been an honor to have Scott's voice in indie-rock for 15 years. It will be missed. For the silent sufferers, for the publicly pained, and for those wracked by hurt, for Scott Hutchison himself, allow him to guide you with these words from his 2016 song "Wait Til The Morning":
"We are all designed to wax and wane
The light will come back on again
The National Suicide Prevention Hotline number in the United States, if you need it, is 1-800-273-8255.
Featured photo by Rob Ball / WireImage