Canadian singer/songwriter JJ Wilde dives into the depression and pain in her achingly raw, vulnerable, and personal new song “Funeral for a Lover,” a hauntingly honest and emotional depiction of depression’s impact.
This song was a way of me letting go of the guilt of not being able to make someone see the beauty in the world and life the way I do… understanding that sometimes, stepping back is a way of helping as well.
There’s tremendous pain in JJ Wilde’s voice on her latest song. Released in mid-January, “Funeral for a Lover” is an aching, raw piano ballad centered around depression and our relationships with loved ones experiencing depression. “It was a way of me dealing with what was going on in my life at the time, and reconnecting with myself,” Wilde relates. “It is incredibly difficult to watch someone you love struggle, in any aspect of their life. It is even harder when you try to help, but nothing seems to work.” A hauntingly honest and emotional depiction of depression’s impact, “Funeral for a Lover” is triggering in such a way that it one can’t help but have that real conversation, whether internally or with others, about how we support the people we care about the most.
My lover’s got a funeral,
but he won’t tell me when
Never wanted to see 25,
now he’s blowing out
the candles on the cake
Thought that I could
be a reason to wake up
To stay up to make up
Thought that my love
might’ve changed your mind
For many a listener, “Funeral for a Lover” is the first time they’re seeing past the raucous, intense veneer of Wilde’s alternative rock sound; the 28-year-old singer/songwriter from Kitchener, Ontario introduced herself to the world with last year’s Wilde Eyes, Steady Hands EP, a fierce four-track record that hits hard and leaves a lasting mark.
“Between its message of perseverance and Wilde’s incredibly passionate performance, “State of Mind” is easy to fall for,” Atwood Magazine wrote of Wilde’s second single last May. “Its highs are energizing; its lows are reassuring; and throughout, we are gifted with the incredible talents of JJ Wilde, whose electric presence transfers over to dynamic vocals and powerfully expressive guitar work.”
This time around, JJ Wilde’s high is an emotional one. She sings her heart out in the chorus – strained, stressed, and recognizing her need to accept an inability to fix a situation or heal her friend:
Well you know that it breaks my heart
Now I’m up on the phone
I’m not with you to check you’re still breathing
And it hurts, yea it hurts my heart
It has nothing to do with me
Can’t make you wanna keep breathing
Anyone who’s been there, or tried to be there, for someone with depression knows how difficult it really is.
There are no rewards for doing a “good job”; being there for someone else in that capacity means throwing away all expectations and just being there: Giving of yourself, in whatever means necessary. “Funeral for a Lover” captures this mix of emotions: The desire to help, and the inability to feel like your “help” is doing anything.
Speaking to American Songwriter upon the track’s release, Wilde described writing “Funeral for a Lover” as a therapy session. “I wrote it as a way of dealing with a relationship that I had with somebody who struggled very severely with mental health issues. It’s as straightforward as it sounds in the lyrics. It’s all coming from the heart, it’s me trying to make sense of it with myself while also trying to move forward.”
“Funeral for a Lover” brings this difficult topic to life not in a glamorous way, but in a way that feels appropriately dramatic and emotional; a way that feels real.
Listen to this song, and then really listen to it again; it’s only 3 1/2 minutes long, and its message is worth your time. JJ Wilde can’t control how everyone else feels or what people do, but she can try to start an important conversation – and she’s done so with “Funeral for a Lover.”
Listen to Wilde’s new song and learn more about in Atwood Magazine‘s interview below.
“Funeral for a Lover” – JJ Wilde
A CONVERSATION WITH JJ WILDE
Atwood Magazine: Hey JJ, to start off, what makes this song tick for you? What is it special, in other words?
JJ Wilde: This song is very close to my heart. It was a way of me dealing with what was going on in my life at the time, and reconnecting with myself. It is incredibly difficult to watch someone you love struggle, in any aspect of their life. It is even harder when you try to help, but nothing seems to work. This song was a way of me letting go of the guilt of not being able to make someone see the beauty in the world and life the way I do. And understanding that sometimes stepping back is a way of helping as well. Mental health is such a difficult thing to navigate, because everyone is different and there is no one way of help that works for everyone. There are however, many options.
You took off with a hell of a 2019. Why is this song your 2020 return?
JJ Wilde: Last year was a great year! I can’t wait to get back on the road and do it all again. I felt it was necessary to let this song out to let people into my world a bit further. [Between] personal experience and everything I was going through, it felt like the right time.
How does “Funeral for a Lover” fit into the larger narrative of your musicianship and artistry? What is its story, compared to your own?
JJ Wilde: The story of this song is fighting a constant battle with yourself. Understanding that you have to take care of your own mental health when trying to help someone else. It is about not giving up and realizing that other people are or could be going through something similar; that the only way to help each other is to reach out to each other. I think as far as musicianship goes, I wanted to give people a deeper look into my world. It is me pouring my heart out for something I believe in. Take it or leave it.
I simply love the music video. How do you feel the song's themes shine through in the music video?
JJ Wilde: I wanted this video to be raw. To be vulnerable. There was a specific reason I was naked in a tub. That is the most uncomfortable position to be in for a video, completely out there, emotionally and physically. For me I wanted it to be raw and unfiltered because that’s what the song is. The video isn’t about looking good or trying to be sexy. It’s about something that I think really matters, and people needed to see me in that vulnerable state for real to get into that world.
People needed to see me in that vulnerable state for real to get into that world.
Are you a music video person? Do you have any memorable favorite music videos from youth? What is it about them, for you, that helps them stand out from, say, just the audio?
JJ Wilde: I do love a good music video. I think they are a self expression of the artist just as much as the song is. To the artist it is a chance to show listeners what they see when they write/ hear the song. It give listeners a deeper look into how they operate and think. I personally love the music video series that The Lumineers did for their Cleopatra album. The way they are all connected in some way in the story line, I found to be very clever.
I know we're only in January still so I don't want to dive too deep into the future, bUt what are your goals for 2020? Is a debut album perhaps on our horizon, or are you focused on singles for the time being?
JJ Wilde: This year is shaping up to be a very busy one! And I like it that way! I can’t wait to get back on the road. We leave in a few days to start touring across the States, and the rest of the year looks very similar. Lots of touring and lots of new music! My goals are to get out to as many shows both playing and attending, to write a full crop of new songs and who knows what else!
“Funeral for a Lover” – JJ Wilde
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📸 © Jonathan Weiner
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