Words: James Frostick
Artist image: Dannika Horvat
Prolific Melbourne songwriter Emma Russack has announced the July arrival of her fifth record, Winter Blues. Ahead of the album’s release, Emma gifted listeners a small taste in the form of the record’s title track. The gorgeous piano-led tune see’s Emma copping to her own bullshit, taking ownership of bad behaviour instead of simply passing it off as a byproduct of miserable weather. We’ve got a look at the track’s brand-new visuals!
For the first time this year, it’s cold in Brisbane. Winters are mild here at the best of times, but compared to the normal blistering scorch, it’s a welcome change. Seasonal depression isn’t as much of a thing here as it is in places where the temperature shift is more pronounced, but that that doesn’t stop folks blaming it for their own inconstant attitudes. ‘Winter Blues’, the new track from Melbourne-based songwriter Emma Russack is not about winter, or even really about seasonal depression itself, rather it’s about taking ownership of one’s actions instead of shifting the blame for our behaviours onto some intangible force.
On the song’s intent, Emma puts it best:
“Lyrically, the song is about feeling really down and wanting to attach those feelings to something in particular – an excuse like the ‘winter blues’. In my experience though, sometimes those feelings are just there and I don’t know why, so I try to take ownership of them instead of trying to blame something or someone else for how I feel.”
I don’t think it’s much of a stretch to say that the feelings Emma is describing – and the propensity to shift blame – are common. No one wants to acknowledge that they aren’t fully in control of their emotions at all times, but to declare that the governance of our moods is dictated by something like seasonal change is a bigger act of betrayal – to others and to ourselves. Our attempts to distract from the underlying issues of our mood swings and unruly mind-state only serve to feed into the all-too-common failure in acknowledging our own mental health. Choosing not to address contributing factors does nothing to improve your mood or soothe the rifts it causes in our social interactions. The simple act of recognising these behaviours and taking ownership of them is a crucial first step towards identifying underlying issues that may be present, and addressing them cognitively and constructively.
Listen and watch the moody visual accompaniment to ‘Winter Blues’ (directed by Melbourne artist Brodie Kokkinos) below:
Be sure to pre-order your copy of Winter Blues before it drops on July 5. You can also see Emma perform at The Sydney Opera House on May 25 alongside The Middle East and The Ocean Party as part of the Spunk Records 20th Birthday Celebrations. Get tickets here.