Seeing Black

Songfacts®:

  • Williams told American Songwriter that she wrote this bracing roots-rock number "after the indie rock singer-songwriter Vic Chesnutt took his own life." The song continues a theme that Williams has visited in the past on tracks such as "Sweet Old World," where she can't take her mind off of everything a person gives up with suicide.
  • Williams told the A.V. Club she was actually in the middle of writing this song about a different friend when she got the news of Chesnutt's suicide. She continued the story in an interview with Pop Matters: "I was very emotional about it. I didn't know Vic very well, but any time you hear about, you know—he's one of us, a songwriter and singer and we were mutual admirers of each other's work." Chesnutt also named a song after her on his 1991 album West of Rome.
  • On the recurrent theme of suicide in her music, Williams said: "I'm fascinated with the subject of suicide. I've suffered from horrible sadness, melancholia, as a lot of us do, but I can't imagine going to that place. My dad used to describe it as like a deep dark well, and we're all standing around the edge, and some of us fall in.

    "I think what informs my songwriting is my empathy with that. Maybe that's what bothers people. It scares them to go to the edge of the well and look in. But it's what they like also. And wouldn't you rather feel the pain than not feel anything?" (The Telegraph, 2013)

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