By Simon Heywood
With the release of Monster and Monster (Reborn) last Halloween, fans were wondering what would be online personality Gabbie Hanna’s next move. Originally, she announced that she wanted to have an album out to her fans, known as showstoppers, by the end of the year, and later on in 2018 she announced the title of her album, This Time, Next Year. When New Years Eve came to an end, leading into 2019, some fans were wondering where Hanna went. However, soon after, she announced that she was working on a new single, Medicate. Her showstoppers were once again sent into hysteria as the waiting game for February 1 to come around the corner.
Throughout the next few weeks, Hanna began posting on Instagram, teasing her new single from photoshoots on the set of the music video to revealing the cover art for the single. With each post, she released a bit of the lyrics, hyping her audience.
When February 1 rolled around, social media and YouTube blew up with people’s reactions to Hanna’s new single. Many, including her close friends, commented on how she outdid herself, yet again.
I couldn’t agree with them more. Each single Hanna puts out there, always leaves her previous one in the dust. With Medicate, this single was single-handedly (pun intended?) the most emotional of all her pieces thus far. This song touched my soul, and sent me back into my own memories, each lyric and note striking a new chord in me
According to Hanna from her Instagram, Medicate is a song “for anyone who’s ever felt like a science experiment gone wrong, for anyone who’s questioned if their brain is broken, for anyone who’s ever wondered if their feelings are justified,” following up by saying “depression is scary. Anxiety is scary. The idea of chemically altering your mind [with medication] is scary.” Just a bit of a background, Hanna graduated from the University of Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania, with a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Communications. From her life experiences along with her studies, she’s become one of the greatest storytellers and a prominent internet personality that voices the importance of mental health awareness.
With Medicate, Hanna questions whether a pill/medication can truly help those of us struggling with mental illnesses be one step closer to happiness. “Can you medicate a broken heart,” she sings, wondering if medication is “the way to fix this or is this a quick fix.” Can medication be a long-lasting solution or is it only temporary?
However, with the progression of the song’s story itself, one lyric that stuck out to me as a blossom of hope in a dead field is “turn your tragedies into a work of art,” and that not only stuck out to me, but it stuck to me. That’s what artists do. I mean sure, we are very capable of expressing the happiness in us, but our dark times also motivate us to create beautiful things. Often times, it’s those creations that are sprouted by the darkness that help so many people, because it shows no one goes through the darkness alone. It also shows that there is a way to turn the darkness into something good. In one of the promotional photos she posted on Instagram for the single, she says “this little sunflower grew in darkness” referring to how all of the hardships she went through only helped her grow. Every obstacle we encounter, all the hardships we face, are presented to us as a means to help us learn and grow as individuals.
Along with the single that Hanna released on February 1, she released the music video for this song the following day, February 2. To me, it’s as if the music video is a work of art that stands so strong on its own, adding another beautiful layer to the song with its visual effects. The music video starts out with Hanna in loose clothes, makeup that makes her look tired and drained, walking into an empty room set up with chairs in a circle. As she sits she starts to sing, and the cameras circle her the entire time, zooming in on her depressed state, then zooming in on the chair across from her, showing the viewer her perspective.
Several people in the comment section and on social media analyzed the video thoroughly, and at the bridge of the song, the video circles from behind Hanna and there is a flash effect that reveals another version of Hanna, in a black leather jacket, black pants and heeled boots, with a full face of polished makeup, and neatly curled hair, singing back at this depressed version of herself. As the finishing portion of the song continues with each of them singing to each other, viewers noticed something in the back; the windows present in the video the entire time had bars added to it the moment “leather Gabbie” appeared. This subtle change was interpreted in many ways, and on that note, my interpretation is that this constant pondering on the use of medication is almost like leading some people to a mental prison. Can medication, if actually taken, free us from our mental, dark, prisons, or will it only lock us in a new mental prison? At least, that’s how I see it.
Overall, this single is so beautiful, from the notes to the lyrics. For the music video, it added this visual layer to the song, giving the song another sense of beauty. The way it was shot and directed was so amazing and mellow, it conveyed Hanna’s story of her song perfectly. To echo the words of her friends and showstoppers, Gabbie (Hanna) has truly outdone herself this time, and I cannot wait to see what she releases next, whether that would be another single or her album, This Time, Next Year.