Content warning: This article mentions depression and difficulties with mental health.
Have you ever felt so consumed by thoughts bouncing around in your head that you can’t help but open Instagram? Do you feel lonely, yet try to prove that your life is still good by posting and tagging, showing only the happy parts of your life?
Well, first off, same. Second off, “Instagram” (2017) by Dean is for you.
Dean is an R&B/Alternative singer-songwriter from South Korea who debuted in the United States in 2015 with his single “I’m Not Sorry” featuring Eric Bellinger. His single “Instagram” was released on Dec. 26, 2017, and speaks on his own experiences with depression and isolation from others.
The song includes a slow, smooth beat. Dean’s voice follows the soft plucking on a guitar that slips and slides throughout the track. His voice pushes out his internal sadness as he sings as though confessing a dark secret to a friend. Even as the beat picks up with ad libs and gradually louder claps, the lonely tone never seems to completely leave. Even as Dean surrounds himself with other noises and people, his loneliness is still evident and cannot be completely swallowed by the happiness of those around him.
Dean manages to intertwine the popular social media app with his lonely nights by emphasizing the constant scrolling and stalking of others’ accounts, being bombarded with images of seemingly happy and content friends and strangers. Despite attempts to escape the cycle of loneliness, he always finds himself on the app once again and, as he outright says, “Lonely, lonely, so lonely.” He sings that there’s a “hole in my heart” and nothing, not even documenting and publishing his joy, “can fill it up.” The further evidence of others seemingly leading good lives does no more than make him feel even more lonely.
Dean’s writing manages to provide a balance between a beat that feels comforting to a wandering mind and understanding to a mind that is constantly consumed by dark thoughts. “Instagram” is a relief to listen to, especially for those who belong to the social media generation. Art like “Instagram” reminds us that everyone feels lonely and down sometimes, and apps like Instagram only show slivers of the good in life. The song’s music video is shot in an old-school, black-and-white filter that further intensifies the theme of loneliness and cycles of depression. The video shows that as life moves and flashes past our eyes, the feeling of being stuck in place can be forever.
You, however, do not need to relate to and feel a song deep in your heart to love it. You don’t even need to know the lyrics. “Instagram” not only has significant meaning in its expression of strong and harsh emotions, but it is also a great listen. Dean’s smooth beats and vocals transport you to a safe space where you can simply enjoy and vibe.
Dean is expected to release new music in the coming months, but for now, you can listen to “Instagram” on YouTube and Spotify.