“And while I’m alive, I’ll make tiny changes to earth": In memory of Scott Hutchison

Only some artists tend to leave a striking and lasting effect on their listener. Offering a relatable voice to confide in during the darkest of times and a glass to lift in states of drunken euphoria. Frightened Rabbit’s lead singer and songwriter, Scott Hutchison, was that voice.

The beauty in which Hutchison could navigate through life’s injustices and harsh realities was simply unparalleled. With his very own distinct sense of power, honesty and poetry, Hutchison helped listeners break through their heavy tides of darkness and towards a much happier state. And for that, Hutchison more than achieved his aim of making “tiny changes to earth.”

His band, Frightened Rabbit first began as a solo project in 2003 in the Scottish town of Selkirk. When debut album, Sing the Greys, was released in 2006, the band merely consisted of Hutchison and his brother Grant on drums. However, from then on, the band grew into a 3 piece and even more recently, a 5 piece.

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In turn, Frightened Rabbit released four incredibly personal and equally stunning records, with the most recent being 2016’s Painting Of A Panic Attack. However, the album that often sticks in the memory and soundtracks the lives of many a fan, is 2008’s critically acclaimed masterpiece, Midnight Organ Fight, analbum that is often regarded as one of the best indie rock albums since the turn of the century.

Aside from the critical acclaim that followed its release, The Midnight Organ Fight has grown into a record that fans have felt an overwhelming attachment to. Hutchison himself stated how “80 percent of conversations I have with members of our audience are about that record – where they were in their life when they heard it, what happened to them, how for some it saved their life”. Only this year did the band celebrate its landmark 10th anniversary with sell out shows in Glasgow and London, highlighting its everlasting presence in the hearts of so many.

It’s this personal affection that makes his premature death even more heart-breaking. Not only has a gaping hole been left in indie rock music as a result of his passing, but also a gaping hole in the hearts of fans who needed his unfiltered honest lyricism in times of struggle. A voice echoing familiar thoughts of loneliness and depression, but with a sense of innate optimism and catharsis about what tomorrow could hold. Hutchison therefore represented an indie rock icon like no other. Someone who could represent the thoughts and processes of those slightly disenfranchised by other cocksure and self-important indie rock stars, and instead sing to those stuck in the “cracked up daily grind”. A man who possessed the relatable vulnerability of the everyman in a world that has never been truly perfect.

Throughout his incredibly successful career, Hutchison fought an ongoing battle with mental health and depression. His lyrics often paint intense and evocative images of heartbreak, loneliness and even suicidal thoughts. In the incredibly dark, ‘Floating In The Forth’, Hutchison describes a suicidal thought set on Scotland’s Forth Bridge, yet Hutchison closes with the heart wrenching rallying cry of “I think I’ll save suicide for another day.” It’s within these glimmers of unrestrained and touching moments of shear optimism that Hutchison proves himself as a songwriter like no other. A shining light for others battling their own inner demons, with words of support, hope and kindness, guiding others onto to the path of redemption. This will be the legacy that Hutchison will leave behind. “A warmth behind the cold war” of everyday life and the struggles that exist within.

Rest in Peace Scott.

Most people who are thinking of taking their own life have shown warning signs beforehand.
These can include becoming depressed, showing sudden changes in behaviour, talking about wanting to die and feelings of hopelessness.  These feelings do improve and can be treated.

If you are concerned about someone, or need help yourself, please contact the Samaritans on 116 123.

Other student support services include:
Young Minds https://youngminds.org.uk/ 0808 802 5544
Nightline https://www.nightline.ac.uk/want-to-talk/
Papyrus https://www.papyrus-uk.org/ 0800 068 41 41
Student Minds http://www.studentminds.org.uk/findsupport.html

Featured image: Flickr / Andy Witchger

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