nk looking to side

I’ve never gotten into Neko Case, but after hearing an interview she did on NPR’s “Morning Edition,” I’m definitely going to listen closely to her latest album, called The Worse Things Get, The Harder I Fight, The Harder I Fight, The More I Love You. In the interview, Case tells the story that inspired her new song “Nearly Midnight, Honolulu,” but the song itself also tells the story. Here are the lyrics, ht BP:

Hey, little kid that I saw at the bus stop one day
It was nearly midnight in Honolulu
We were waiting for the shuttle to take us to the aeroplane
When your mother said, your mother said
Like I couldn’t hear her, she said,
“Get the f*$% away from me!
Why don’t you ever shut up?
Get the f*&% away from me!”
Oh, oh

Well, I just want to say that it happened
‘Cause one day when you ask yourself,
“Did it really happen?”
You won’t believe it, but yes, it did
And I’m sorrynk with bird
And I’m sorry
‘Cause it happens everyday

They won’t believe you
When you tell them
They won’t believe you
When you say, “My mother, she did not love me.
My mother, she did not love me”

No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no

Some days you feel like a cartoon
And people will rush to make excuses for you
You’ll hear yourself complain
But don’t you ever shut up please
Kid, have your say
‘Cause I still love you
Even if I don’t see you again

Woah. The song is performed a cappella on the album and is made even more moving by the personal connection Case felt to this little girl in Honolulu. In the year leading up to the release of her latest album, Case was depressed. The depression was, in part, triggered by the death of both of her parents, but Case realized that she mourned the absence of their love throughout her whole life more than their physical absence after their deaths. When she saw this angry mother yell at her child that night around midnight, Case says it felt “too close to home.”

It’s clear that Case has an artistic mind; she expresses herself in beautifully abstract ways throughout the interview. Talking about her depression, Case compares being depressed to wearing a “diving bell suit made of Ziploc baggies.”

And you’re there with other people and you can see them and hear them and touch them through the baggie or something, but you can’t conduct electricity.

Case closes out the interview with a message that we love to hear and so often find true. She says that she started to feel better once she stopped fighting and trying to analyze her depression—once she released control.

neko case deerI definitely feel a lot better. Once I stopped fighting it, that’s when it really started. It’s like a bottleneck broke open, and everything started to flow again and my circulation came back. I stopped trying to over analyze how sad I was. I stopped trying to say, ‘No, I’m not super depressed.’ I mean, I’m sure there’s a fear in people – they don’t want to admit to being depressed because you’re kind of considered broken. It’s silly because it happens to everyone.

I don’t think it’s something that people are going to learn anything from. I’m not trying to say my ‘genius’ bummer I’m going to lay on you right now is quite momentous. It’s more like, ‘Hey guys, sucks to feel crappy, doesn’t it? Yeah, it does. Sorry, man.’ And then you move on.