Music is a powerful tool that can connect even the most unrelated people. It can be used as a gateway for bringing healing to even the most broken-hearted. Feelings of love can be amplified by a simple four-chord tune. There are even proven psychological benefits of listening to music.
My first experience of the album Therapy Session by Michigan-based rapper NF (real name Nathan Feuerstein) was an interesting one. I discovered the single ‘I Just Wanna Know’ on Spotify, I think by chance. Listening to it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. With four albums and two EPs under his belt (including one album released under his real name), Nate covers many themes that chronicle his own road to recovery. All of his albums have been crucial in helping me come to terms with some difficult situations that I’ve been part of. Here, I’m going to focus on his third studio album (and second under his current stage name.)
NF has been through a complicated journey, which he talks about in many of his songs: his father left his family home before he was born, and his mother married a man who later abused young Nathan and his siblings. In 2009, she passed away from an accidental drug overdose. Since then, he has had chart success, has met the woman who later became his wife, and has dealt with many of the anger issues that have cropped up in his short life, for the most part.
His story is wildly different to mine, and yet, I connect with his music on an almost spiritual level. Therapy Session was the first album of his that I listened to in full, and it paints a picture of one of the darkest times of his life. Spread through the record are themes of doubt, both about himself and his faith, death, self-harm, and both love and heartbreak.
As he explains in the song ‘Real’, “Father, forgive me, for I am a sinner, but You gave me music as medicine.” For him, and for his fans, NF’s music is a form of therapy (hence the name of this album). The topics he talks about are issues that many people, including himself, struggle with. He wants to be genuine with those people who listen to his music and go to see him perform live; for him, an effect of his honesty is that they come to him and let him know how their music has often had a positive effect on them, despite sounding violent to many others.
Therapy Session has helped me through hard times as well. I have found that, from an early age, I’ve been in the company of people who have pretended to have my best interests at heart; in reality, they’ve been waiting for the right moments to take me down and hurt me emotionally. It has stuck with me, and has created feelings of self-doubt. This album is a constant reminder that these feelings are not my fault, and it is possible to rise above it.
In the track ‘Statement’, Nathan professes his disdain for people who are fake, and says that he doesn’t wish to associate with them. This has served, in part, as inspiration for my shifting viewpoint from blaming myself for others’actions, to holding them accountable for what they do. This, in turn, has helped me come to terms with my past, and helped me forgive those who have wronged me easier than I have ever been able to before.
There’s so much more I could say about Therapy Session, both as a musical project, and as a way of providing healing to people’s mental health, but I want to finish by saying this: if you need an alternative outlet for anything you may be going through, this is definitely the place to start.