Song Review: Never Summer – “Who Am I (Without It)”

“Who Am I (Without It)” by Never Summer is a potent, raw exploration of personal battles with addiction and mental health, delivered through an emo and alternative rock lens. This track doesn’t shy away from the dark and turbulent emotions that accompany such struggles, encapsulating a genuine sense of urgency and desperation in its aggressive and energetic tone.

The song commences with an immediate plunge into the depths of the narrator’s turmoil: “In over my head / Ankles made of lead / Pushed into the deep end / Wishing I were dead.” The imagery here is stark and visceral, painting a picture of someone struggling to stay afloat amidst their internal battles. The feeling of being weighed down, both literally and metaphorically, is palpable, setting a tone of intense emotional struggle.

Lyrically, the song oscillates between moments of despair and glimmers of hope. Phrases like “Try to wipe my eyes and clear my head / It’s never been so hard to leave my bed” depict the daily struggles faced, while the chorus, “But I’m hoping / Struggling / Don’t give up on me” reveals a deep-seated desire for perseverance and support. This push-and-pull dynamic is a hallmark of the emo genre, where externalizing internal chaos through music serves as a form of catharsis.

Musically, “Who Am I (Without It)” complements its poignant lyrics with a soundscape that is both aggressive and melodic. The instrumentation embodies the tension and release found in the lyrics. The driving guitar riffs and dynamic drumming create an energetic backdrop, mirroring the emotional turbulence described in the song. The aggressive elements of the music don’t just add to the dark mood but also channel the energy and determination to fight through the challenges.

One of the most compelling aspects of the song is its raw honesty. It doesn’t romanticize the struggles with addiction and mental health but instead presents them in a stark, unfiltered manner. The line “Chaos a dream dies in me / Sure a spectacle for all to see” highlights the public nature of these battles, especially in a world where personal struggles can often become spectacle.

In summary, “Who Am I (Without It)” by Never Summer is a powerful, deeply personal song that resonates with anyone who has grappled with their inner demons. It’s a testament to the strength found in vulnerability and the relentless pursuit of betterment despite the odds. The track stands out not just for its emotional depth but also for its ability to capture the essence of the emo and alternative rock genres — raw, unapologetic, and profoundly human.

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