“The Living Dead” by Mia Automata

“The Living Dead” by Mia Automata is truly a unique experience. With its bit-crushed synth riff and copiously autotuned vocals, the atmosphere is metallic, but ultimately kind of dreamy. Something about the duality of texture and melody makes the main motif absolutely hypnotizing. Combine all of that with the thoughtful yet sort of morose lyrical content, and you’ve got something unlike anything you’ve heard before. Let’s dive into what makes it so special.

It begins with that aforementioned riff, which holds a steady rhythm and hops from note to note in sequences. “Living in a space / In between spaces / Is it really living if you’re no one, if you’re nowhere, if you’re nothing…,” we’re greeted with something rather existential. The dejection communicated by this line directly juxtaposes the upbeat, lighthearted ambiance set by the instrumental. Immediately, the listener realizes they’re dealing with a thematically layered piece of music. The vocal melody, despite being so heavily affected, really does convey a lot of intimacy and authenticity. The way the notes drape over the chords is incredibly emotionally effective.

Speaking of things that are sort of heart-wrenching, the lyrical arc will turn you upside-down and backward. For most of the piece, the concepts of life and death are thrown around, debated, pitted against one another, and almost confused. By the end though, the singer cries, “I want to be alive,” and it feels like we’ve reached a gratifying, hopeful conclusion. Sewn into this song is an almost literary narrative, delivered with an experimental, creative, and poignant vessel. Mia Automata will revolutionize your perception of synth-pop music.

Written by Alyce Lindberg




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