“Stay Dead (ft. Celeste Madden)” by Sketchface is a moody, beautifully dismal duet. Peppered with tremolo, reverb, and echo, the production paints a spacy, atmospheric layer over top of a tastefully written song. This lyrically complex, tonally balanced, and overall moving piece will certainly give you chills.
A gentle, lightly-affected guitar riff forms the basis of the intro. Sounds reminiscent of a hospital filter in, likely in reference to the name, “Stay Dead.” The listener is inundated with subtle imagery and a sense of irony. It’s an immediate draw–what’s the implication? How will this song treat death? As the lyrics crawl in, the plot thickens. “my first mistake / was thinking you needed / somebody to take the wheel, hold the reins, a parachute on the runway.” The first vocalist’s soft, bright tone carries the verse through a story of loss, insecurity, and resignation. The other vocalist chimes in, adding a deeper layer.
The song continues like this for a few minutes, showcasing the intricate, emotional lyrical content. A casual drum fill signals a change–a guitar solo, smothered with fluctuating synths and vast swaths of reverb, shines through the mix. It heightens the intensity of the once calm, dejected song with a dramatic flair. This seamless transition between softness and passion reflects high-level musicianship. Just when a change in feel was needed, Sketchface was able to deliver.
If you’re in need of some serious catharsis, you couldn’t do better than “Stay Dead.” Every aspect of this piece screams indie masterpiece.
Written by Alyce Lindberg