On Friday, rapper Logic released a single from his new album, Everybody, due out in stores this Thursday. The song, simply titled "1-800-273-8255," never actually mentions the phone number in its lyrics. What is the song "1-800-273-8255" about, anyway? Far from being this generation's "Jenny" — the 1980s song that featured a real phone number, 876-5309, made famous by Tommy Tutone — "1-800-273-8255" is also a real phone number with a far more important cause: It's the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.
Logic teamed up with Alessia Cara and Khalid to perform the moving song, in partnership with the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Billboard Magazine has already dubbed the song an "anthem for suicide prevention" — and that's exactly what it is. Even though Logic never drops the number by name in the song, "1-800-273-8255" is a lyrical journey through the complex emotions of someone contemplating suicide. Logic's song is definitely not some whiny emo ballad with a catchy beat, and the simplicity of his lyrics shouldn't diminish from the song's emotional power.
Logic sat down with website Genius to dive deep into the meaning of his "1-800-273-8255" song and what inspired him to write the song in the first place.
The inspiration came from his fans after meeting them in person on a fan tour from Los Angeles to New York City, Logic explained to Genius. He would come across fan after fan who told the 27-year-old rapper from Maryland that his music saved their lives. "And I give them a hug and sh*t but in my mind, I’m like, 'What the f*ck?'" he told Genius. "And they’re really serious." It was then that he realized he was in a unique position to really do some good with his music. Logic continued:
I was like, "Man I wasn’t even trying to save nobody’s life.” And then it hit me, the power that I have as an artist with a voice. I wasn’t even trying to save your life. Now what can happened if I actually did?
The journey Logic describes in the song is a powerful one, taken from the point of view of someone actually calling the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. The lyrics to "1-800-273-8255" start with "I've been on the low / I been taking my time / I feel like I'm out of my mind / It feel like my life ain't mine," before Logic calls out loudly, "Who can relate?" Simple lyrics, but there's deeper meaning that will resonate with anyone who's ever contemplated suicide themselves, or lost someone to suicide.
But not all hope is lost as the song progresses. The opening line of each chorus changes, showing a progression from dark into light while also encouraging listeners that they matter and that someone cares about them and their wellbeing. "I don't wanna be alive" becomes "I want you to be alive" as the song soars to its most hopeful, inspiring pinnacle: "I finally wanna be alive."
Dr. John Draper, director of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, praised artists Logic, Alessia Cara, and Khalid in a statement for using their platforms to spread the message of hope. "By sharing these stories of recovery from individuals who have been there and have survived their own crises, we can change the conversation about suicide from one of tragedy and isolation to one of hope,” said Draper.
Full confession: As someone who has struggled with major depressive disorder since I was 19 — and had a major suicidal episode just two years ago — "1-800-273-8255" puts into music an experience that is so often difficult to accurately portray and communicate to others. I truly believe that this song isn't just an anthem for suicide prevention, but an anthem for entire generations, as suicide rates have hit a 30-year high for nearly every age group as of 2016, according to the National Center for Health Statistics.
You can listen to "1-800-273-8255" on Spotify and on YouTube.
Logic's album Everybody drops this Thursday.