A musical therapy session
There are many reasons artists create the music they do. Some music is made to be the next big hit. Other songs are given to us to bring to our feet in dance. However, often we are given music, that was made solely for the therapeutic effect it had on the creating artist, and if we’re lucky, that artist will let us witness their healing. Sarah Mary Chadwick, a New Zealand indie-alternative artist, who has had to bury not only a former lover but also her father, has given the world one of the most vulnerable albums of all time: Please Daddy.
This album is focused on Chadwick’s mental health. She gives us her best attempt at letting listeners experience first-hand what it’s like trying to navigate life in her brain, a task that Chadwick shows us is not a pleasant one. In the opening track “When Will Death Come,” she sings the lines “Rip up my mind, has always worked against me/ to never feel calm/ I was cursed.” The song is theatrical in nature, as it is simultaneously a cry for help and a white flag of surrender. The vocal performance and lyrics are overflowing with pain and torture.
Throughout the album, Chadwick’s vocals exude the raw emotion that is usually only available in live performances. In the title song, “Please Daddy” she sounds one note away from crying the entire three and a half minutes. We can hear Chadwick confronting her parents like a confused little kid who just wants all burning questions answered. What is the meaning of life? The key to happiness? The classics.
To wrap everything up, Chadwick gives us “All Lies” which is as it sounds: all lies. It’s everything she tells others and herself just to get out of bed in the morning. Throughout the song, Chadwick is reminding someone that she does not think about them anymore, as well as not fearing death, and being at peace with her family. She says all this only to admit “In all these lies/ this one is true/ I’ve lost interest in life/ without you.” The track and album come to an end in a climactic fashion with ballad-like vocals and an orchestra of instruments, paying homage to the theatrics of the opening track.
It’s not only music. It’s a story of songs, of art. It’s brave. It’s raw. And if it is anything, it’s honest. It’s a woman who is trying to heal, and we are fortunate enough to be able to consume the art that has come from her journey.