A tribute to Scott Hutchison of Frightened Rabbit

Scott Hutchison

Today is a sad day, as Scott Hutchison, singer and founding member of Scottish indie rock band Frightened Rabbit, has been confirmed as dead (source). The 36-year old songwriter had gone missing on Wednesday, after posting a tweet saying “I’m away now. Thanks”. Afterwards he was last seen getting on a ferry, with his body being found at Port Edgar, between the Forth Road Bridge and Queensferry Crossing.

Upon first hearing The Midnight Organ Fight in 2008 I knew Frightened Rabbit would remain in my heart forever. It won’t come as a surprise that I was in my early 20s around that time, and as is wont to happen, going from heartbreak to heartbreak. After ending what had then been my longest relationship I felt at my worst, unable to communicate the feelings I had, eventually finding comfort in Hutchison’s lyrics. Whether it’s

I’m working hard on walking out
Shoes keep sticking to the ground
My clothes won’t let me close the door
These trousers seem to love your floor

Or

You should look through some old photos
I adored you in every one of those
If someone took a picture of us now they’d need to be told

I saw the band perform in Brussels, and was struck by how earnest Hutchison came across on stage. It was a big difference from many other performers I had seen, and you could tell he hadn’t been writing sad songs just because there was a market for it.

Time passed, and I didn’t get happier. I left Europe behind and traveled for over a year. My goal of the trip had been to rid myself of the past, and soon enough Frightened Rabbit released what would be my anthem for my trip: Swim Until You Can’t See Land.

And yes, I did more than draw the lyrics into the sand. When at one point I was feeling homesick, I was left with the choice of ending my trip prematurely or continuing to drive onwards. So I kept playing the song over and over, repeating to myself “are you a man or are you a bag of sand?”

When I returned – as a man, not a bag of sand – I had lost a fair amount of baggage. Although I still listened to their following albums (Pedestrian Verse and Painting of a Panic Attack), I felt like they were for people who were in a darker place than I was.

I really wish Hutchinson had turned out to be a musician who kept writing hard-hitting music to capitalize on past successes, and not someone who was actually plagued with depression. And I also wish someone else who’s in a dark place will discover the music he left behind, and use it to climb back into the light.

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