It’s not every day that you hear a song that somehow perfectly captures the numbing, wonky darkness of oxy, but if you’re reading this, Dev09 is here to let you know what that sounds like. The song tracks the young songwriter through crisis years she experienced in her move from South Bend, Indiana to the incredibly different (and indifferent) Los Angeles.
Mental health is a big issue we should be talking about, but we seem to get wrapped up in the effects rather than examining the cause. The conversation always seems to hover around what led an addiction, overdose, or suicide, but that conversation doesn’t seem to work back far enough to understand the driving factors that pushed them down their dark paths. That’s the tough conversation Dev09 is forcing with, “Oh Shit.”
With a slow, swaying cadence against a dark fabric of sparse guitar and a beat that sounds like a heartbeat on the border of failure, Dev09 digs straight into a mess of personal drama, self-medication, and her constant struggle to gain control of her life. She encounters a lot of obstacles, she makes a few mistakes, and eventually lands in an ambulance and then rehab.
The heartbreaking part of the track is her admission that she feels helpless in her struggle. She’s trying to manage, then to cope, then trying to get by, eventually just trying to stay alive. It’s a daily battle for a lot of people and it’s refreshing to hear something in her lyrics that I’ve only heard in my head. Dev09 is only 21, so there’s a long road ahead of her, thought it feels as though she’s experienced a lot more than people double her age.
It is crucial that we break down the barriers around talking about mental health and to find ways to talk about our troubles. It’s uncomfortable, but it is necessary if we want to stop losing so many friends and family members. As much as we share of our experiences online, it’s always edited to present yourself as happy and whole, all sunny and carefree days. But that isn’t honest because that isn’t how life works.
I know I’m all over the place here. It’s easily apparent that Dev09 struck a chord with me, which makes sense, as I just lost a good friend to depression last year. The part I hate the worst is knowing that he felt so alone and desperate that he resorted to such an extreme measure. At his service I made the following offer, which is if you need to talk, whoever you are, whether you know me or not, please feel free to reach out. If you need somebody to just listen or if you just want to shoot the shit or if there’s anything you need.
In the meantime, take a few listens to Dev09’s “Oh shit” below. Perhaps it will serve as a catalyst that will help you talk more openly about your struggles and the parts of your life you omit from your online self.
I work, live and play in Minneapolis.
I try to tell the story of the people that create music and experiences through pictures as well as through words.