Wildly popular SoCal metalcore powerhouse, Of Mice and Men, has released two singles this year. Looking back at their first track, How to Survive, it seemed to be somewhat of a tamer prequel to their second, Mushroom Cloud. Its themes dealt mainly with feelings of being a disregarded, mistreated individual, yet having the strength to move forward: “I’ll show you how to survive”- new frontman Aaron Pauley screams out three times within the time-frame of the song. There is an ominous, unknown presence within the lyrics though, as shown in this verse:
” Now you’ve seen from behind the veil. Kings, knights and pawns all bleed the same- I refuse to be one the fallen, I refuse to be one of the slain.”
The first verse of How to Survive depicts this enemy as one in their “ivory tower”, preying on those beneath them; hunting them. “They light their torches and draw their arrows”
Most associate the ivory tower with isolated academics, secluded from the world with their vast knowledge but no in-touch with the real world. Of Mice and Men gives us a hint as to what this enemy is, but it’s still pretty vague. They seem to come from a place of privilege.
Their second song, released May 2-Mushroom Cloud- is much more disturbing for the narrator, there is no sign of hope. It’s filled with distorted guitar, exudes more chaos, and is driven by guitar djenting. There is a proclamation of madness.
“They’re not real to you but they’re real to me
I know I’m spiraling
I’m just waiting to detonate”
It’s about a descent into madness; there is no “I’ll show you how to survive”- from the other song- no one survives a mushroom cloud, literally. Could these two tracks act as one storyline? One is about imagining an enemy to fight against, while the sequel is a realization that they are completely mad:
“Does anyone hear the screaming
From the Trojan horse burning inside of my head?
If hell is really empty
Then maybe the demons found a home in there instead”
…How do these lyrics sound to you? Do you think these two releases will be included in the album as part of one story/message?