My Older Brother

Content warning:
Today’s post and song deal with issues of mental health.

Welcome here. Followers of this blog know that on Sundays, I post a piece of classical music. That feature is pre-empted this week as we’re partway through a deep dive into my son Kieran’s new album.

Today I’m featuring the sixth track in our review of Dark Little Ones. We started on Tuesday with “Staying Home.”

I’ll begin this post by saying that Kieran is one of the most courageous people I have known. “My Older Brother” is powerfully vulnerable and emotional, drawing deeply on the humanity and maturity in his singing voice. It ends with an ethereal cymbal sound which, to me, symbolizes the hope of emerging from a dream (or nightmare) and finding the challenges of the day are still there.

Here is some of what Kieran says about the song: “This is a song that could only be written by a person who is plagued by the kind of depression that leads to what I call ‘George Bailey’ syndrome.

“Now is the part where we usually say that if you are struggling… that you must reach out to one of the resources such as Klinic, or to your doctor, or a family member. While this is true and pertinent, I just want to acknowledge what an impossible feat that seems to be, especially when you feel you are nothing but a burden on those around you. There is so much shame around these feelings, even now that it has become less of a social taboo.”

“My Older Brother”

“I can’t look in the mirror anymore
For fear I’ll see my face
In my eyes there was a soul
Now an empty space
I’m closing all the curtains now
The lights too hard to take
I sing myself a lullaby
About a burning lake

Would you have done better
My older brother
Would you waste your life
With demons and lies
Would you know how to recover
My older brother

Would you be tall and thin-good looking
And really know how to sing
Would you graduate from school on time
And wear a heavy ring
Would you be nice to everyone you meet
Would stand tall atop your feet
See the good in me
And be the best person you and I could be

Or would you be the same
Wake up every morning insane
Would you be angry and afraid
And need a drink to face the day”

Words and music © 2023 by Kieran West.

Kieran West: rhythm guitar, vocal
Matt Filopoulos: bass guitar
Dan Bertnick: drums

Kieran concludes his thoughts with these affirming words: “Know that there is love out there for you and that you do not need to be in a good place in order to deserve it. We are worthy of love and care simply because we are human. In our hyper-individualist society, we tend to forget that our purpose on this earth is to love one another.”

Now you know a little about why this is my Song of the Day for Today. Thanks for joining me here.

Here’s the audio from the Kieran West YouTube topic channel:

We’ll be back here tomorrow with the next track from Dark Little Ones. In the meantime, the album is available to stream on Spotify and Apple Music and for purchase in the iTunes Store.

A note to readers: We all know the Covid-19 pandemic severely affected people’s health and worsened a lot of challenges people already had. Depression and other mental health issues can feel overwhelming. There are resources to help. Please reach out if you need help.

Anywhere in Canada:

For mental health/crisis support:

Call: 1-833-456-4566 (24/7)
Adults can text: 741741
Youth can text: 686868
Text Talk Suicide Canada: 45645 (4 PM – 12 AM EST)
Quebec residents can also:

Call: 1-866-APPELLE (1-866-277-3553)
Text: 1-855-957-5353

In the United States:

Suicide and Crisis Lifeline, call or text: 988

For elsewhere in the world, please refer to online resources in your region.

And remember, you matter. We all do.


4 thoughts on “My Older Brother

  1. A great song and an important message. My wife and I are currently going through a lot with her youngest daughter, who, at 19 is being treated for depression and has been recently diagnosed as bipolar. It’s a long hard road but every little bit of support, such as this song, helps. Nobody is in this alone, and this was a nice reminder of that.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Stephen. It is indeed a difficult road for those suffering as well as the loved ones witnessing it, and I’m glad this post and song felt supportive.


    1. It’s a tough one, for sure; I think the heaviest on the album. And I agree, Pooja… I really admire public figures who speak out about their challenges. It helps to normalize these things and make one feel they are not alone.

      Liked by 1 person

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