With modern life becoming stranger by the hour, and with anxiety reaching “epidemic” levels in young adults and college students, adopting coping mechanisms that help us through this weird world is no longer a choice—it’s a necessity. Sometimes we find ways to deal that are “healthy” and/or “productive” (e.g. a new hobby, exercise); sometimes we find ways that aren’t quite as healthy or productive (chain smoking Camel Blues, Postmating Popeyes). Either way, there’s comfort—and validity, we’d argue—in both approaches. After all, feelings are a process you have to work through and navigate, and sometimes that emotional navigation doesn’t involve cleaning your house or joining a Crossfit gym.
Based off her new single, “Stay Stoned,” singer-songwriter Sad Penny (a.k.a. Jo Meredith), understands this. The track is an unflinching documentation of a headspace too many of us can sadly relate to. We’re talking about the times where getting out of bed feels as taxing as a marathon, or leaving the house feels as impossible as flying to Mars. These are the depressed evenings where, as Meredith sings, you “Let the time just roll / take it nice and slow into the morning light . . . I’ve done all I can tonight, I’m just gonna stay stoned.”
It’s a feeling Meredith knows all too well. “The few years before this song came to be, I had experienced my first real struggle with depression,” she explains. “I’ve always been anxious, but this was different—it was heavier and darker. I wasn’t sleeping. I wouldn’t leave the house. I didn’t see my friends. I was living day in and day out on my couch wearing what I’ve lovingly come to call my ‘gray monster’: gray sweats, gray slippers, gray blanket. Housewives on 24/7. Cats. Ramen noodles.”
Much like the song’s lyrics, the video for “Stay Stoned” (directed by Meredith, filmed by Justin Fredericks and Nathan Keller, edited by Josh Gilligan) captures this vibe in a refreshingly forward manner. In it, we see Meredith, clad in what is presumably the “gray monster,” doing . . . well, just what she described above. “When it came time to make a the video for this song, it only seemed right to tell the truth,” she says. “No fancy story board or treatment. No director. Just the truth of my depression.”
The truth really will set you free—or so we hope. Check out the video above, and keep up with all things Sad Penny here. Don’t miss Sad Penny’s performance at Under the Sun Fest next weekend, June 8. More info here.
Chelsea Kaiah James
Why aren't there any ears sculpted onto the presidents of Mt. Rushmore? Because American doesn't know how to listen. - Unkown