As always, as we’re into the festive season, there are Christmas songs a plenty. The Leeds-based collective, Living Body, have added to that with their new song, Don’t Kill Yourself (It’s Christmas), a genuine plea to come together and support one another through this time.
Directly describing individual and global challenges of the last 12 months, the single aims to raise awareness of a modern mental health crisis. Born out of personal struggles, the group’s songwriter, Leeds-based Chicagoan Jeff T. Smith, explains “I never really intended to write a Christmas song; it just seemed to appear subconsciously, fully formed, probably because these thoughts were really weighing on me.”
With references to the UK’s 2019 ‘meaningful vote’, Republican attempts to undermine ballot counting in the 2020 US election, Brexit and its implications for touring and Cardi B’s viral ‘Coronavirus, shit is getting real!’ Instagram video, the song is a meditation on our collective struggles and the uncertainty of the past year. Drawn from Smith’s love of Christmas music, it twinkles and drifts as any great Christmas ballad, replete with sparse snare cracks, brief cymbal crashes and a warming melody that delivers his message of hope.
He expands, “The chorus is me telling myself ‘don’t kill yourself’, so it became like a mantra. In the process of recording the song, I think I was able to exorcise some of these thoughts, which really seemed to drive home the point that if discussions around mental health were destigmatised, we may be able to engender a more sympathetic and understanding society.”
Remember that during this time, as any time, to reach out for help if needed. If you’re struggling through this period, you can contact services below for help:
– Phone (available 24 hours a day): 116 123
– Helpline (5pm-midnight): 0800 58 58 58
– Webchat: https://www.thecalmzone.net/help/get-help/
– Helpline (Christmas hours vary): 0300 123 3393
– Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
– Text: 86463
Papayrus (for people under 35):
– Phone (9am-midnight): 0800 068 4141
– Email: email@example.com
– Text: 07860039967
Words by Nathan Whittle. Find his Louder Than War archive here.