It’s from the very first tones of ‘Flags’ that I feel silent tears rolling down my cheeks, goosebumps creeping up on me. Its harmonies, spot on vocals and the lyrics that are about losing the battle of cancer are what make this a single that immediately spoke to me. Brian Fennell, better known as Seattle-based artist and producer SYML deals with heart-breaking situations through his music. ‘Flags’ is heartbreaking and comforting in the way of it translating the horrifying voices in my head.
Cancer is personal to the artist, as to millions of others, Brian explained: “I struggle with things that seem supernatural but are actually very natural. Cancer is one of those natural things. Nature is undiscerning and unforgiving. Cancer is raw and shapes the landscape of our lives.” ‘Flags’, to not only Brian, is a form of therapy to deal with people that have battled cancer. It’s a hauntingly beautiful combination of lyrics that go straight to the heart and a musical soundscape that translates our sorrows into a wonderful forest of the people we have met and the people we have lost.
“The song is from the perspective of the body experiencing cancer. We meet pain and hopelessness with community and fight, and the fight is meaningful. Cancer fucking sucks and life is beautiful.”
This one is for you, my dear auntie.