An ominous electric guitar, layered with heavy, detached vocals and the morphed make-up of distorted sounds. This is our introduction to Son Lux’s newest song “Dangerous,” a pertinent exploration and expression of the (sur)reality of the world which we all live in today. We are immersed immediately, tugged jarringly into a manic motion of speed and sound.
Are you dangerous?
With your measure of proof
Flaunt your slivers of gold
Abscond with the truth
Listen: “Dangerous” – Son Lux[youtube=https://youtu.be/wKRDTUwdVWg?t=0s]
We are kept guessing, we are kept on our toes, expectant always as the pace shifts; mulled noise emerges alongside a soft drumbeat- almost ritualistic in nature, engaging us momentarily before disappearing into a tangle of violins and flutes.
How does it feel
To be your own deceiver?
Then lost to the aether.
The cryptic lyrics do us little good, only alerting us to the vague definition of violence that is always kept at bay in the song, verse by verse, chorus by chorus. A sense of foreboding is set heavy into the background, made heavier still by the disconnected, contorted vocals. There is something distinctly aggressive; something of a harsh undercurrent that we sense, that we experience- an unsettling and quiet threat in the atmosphere of chaos.
Are you dangerous?
Found your way to my head
Spent fewer nights with the living
Than I do with the dead
How am I supposed to run?
Now, am I supposed to run?
As the third verse ends, the song becomes a deformed reflection, a disturbingly true image of the escalating surge of illusion and reality, neither of which seem believable to us anymore. Facing the onslaught of misinformation, our profession of identity lost amidst all the confusion of a “post-truth” world, our incertitude finds place in Son Lux’s dramatic track.
Through the rushing sounds, the slowing of the vocals, the fading of instruments– through a drum mirroring a heartbeat, the constant juxtaposition of fast and slow, the violins emerging and fading, we are greeted with a sense of emergency, of urgency. We are both being addressed and dismissed, advised and discouraged. This song fits perfectly with the political upheaval and socio cultural divide that seem to have become symptomatic of the modern disease.
Mutated vocals pitched differently, the incessant beats rising to crescendos, both placed across the tumultuous and edgy background music in different shades and hues; the intense result is largely due to the confusing, disorderly melding of voice and music.
I watch you fall
Hollow and depleted
A city razed
Oh, to bury you beneath it
The best endure
With the dead, are true believers
We are all believers
There is despair but there is also defiance, a pointed reaction to our ever-changing social realities, our encroached creative spaces. There are whispers, questions being asked within the intimate expanses of listening, a warning being delivered. There is a deadly frenzy to the track, a methodical madness that proves to be more of a refusal to submit than an admission of defeat.
Are you dangerous?
Carved right into my bed
Then left me for dead
An instrumental interlude allows a rushed pause for reflection. With sounds distorting, static shifting, there are sudden stutters of pace, a slow turn that dizzies us, a fast progression that throws us off, a building up towards something inevitable, something hurried and horrible. The mechanized warbling plays its tricks, creating room for the heady rush of violins as they return in broken waves.
Son Lux gives to us in pieces, in sharpened shards of woodwind and robotic sound, in scraps of pitched voices and static noise. And there we have it, a highly conflicted and convoluted mess, a strangely accurate portrayal of our world today as they blur the lines between the real and surreal, picking away at our defenses and allowing us little comfort.
How am I supposed to sing?
Don’t know the melodies
But all the void behind my teeth.
‘Dangerous’ subsides in a fading row of multiplicity, amidst violin, drum and static-like sound. Only the voice lingers with us, reluctantly, for a tremulous second before the song ends abruptly, as if it were an unfinished sentence.
There is a definable shift away from their previous music — from the personal, Son Lux have indulged here in the public. The question posed is a deeper one, a bigger one — one that affects us all. We are all believers – but what is it that we believe in? Is there even a truth left for us to believe in? If the dead are believers, what good does belief do for those still alive? Are we dangerous? To whom is it that we pose the danger? To ourselves, to others around us? What we we doing to ourselves; what are we doing to each other?
In a statement, Son Lux wrote that their new EP Remedy “is our response to an ever-encroaching reality of social and political upheaval. These songs were born the week of the 2016 election, and they capture us both mourning and refusing to accept the new normal. This release continues our examination of what it means to live, to create, and to resist in America today.” The band is donating all proceeds of sales of Remedy to the Southern Poverty Law Center, a non-profit organization dedicated to fighting hate and bigotry and to seeking justice for the most vulnerable members of American society.
The chaotic instability of “Dangerous” is overarching and long-lasting — the song is a thoughtstorm that debilitates us, that presents a truly dark danger to us and that imitates the mute violence that we all carry within ourselves, disguised and hidden but always just there, simmering below the surface.
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cover © Zenith Richards