They’re not real to you, but they’re real to me

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?

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