“Alternate Reality” by Mia Mormino

Mia Mormino’s “Alternate Reality” is a Gen-Z anthem. Complete with boldly relatable lyrics, pristine pop production, and a sensational vocal performance, this track should be, if it isn’t already, a viral hit.

This track opens by breaking the fourth wall. A lo-fi version of the chorus rings in the background, and we hear a producer or friend cheering on the vocalist. This technique gives the listener a behind-the-scenes look at the creation of the song and automatically endears them to the artist. It’s a perfect little glimpse of personality. Within moments, this launches into a dark, minimalistic verse. Minor string hits make up most of the accompaniment, while the vocalist croons a melancholy melody. The lyrics languish over the singer’s perceived mental imprisonment, which sets up a rather tragic but familiar theme for the rest of the song.

A tasteful vocal run propels us into the chorus, where the mood shifts slightly from “woe-is-me” to “who even cares–” just in time for the beat to kick in. Bass-y horn synths boom and delightfully complex drum samples outline the rhythm. It doubtlessly calls for dancing. Just as soon as it came, however, the chorus dissolves into another verse, another chorus, and then finally a bridge. Harmonies fill out the vocal line, not to mention a tactful lower octave creating even more depth. The lyrics return to something a bit more mournful and self-aware, but a final, skillfully belted note soars straight into another chorus. Here, the lead and background vocals overlap in a somewhat chaotic way, mirroring the turmoil in the singer’s head. The song climaxes as the vocalist cries, “Take me home / Before I grow too old,” adding a new and final thought: maybe it’s better to make peace with your demons than to pretend they’re not there at all.

“Alternate Reality” was a delightful listen. On the surface, it’s a very well-produced and well-performed pop track, but a deeper look reveals a beautifully haunting message.

Written by Alyce Lindberg





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