Saturday, April 23rd, 2022

Son Lux, Mitski, David Byrne – This Is A Life

Are we right? Are we wrong?


Tim de Reuse: Appropriate for the movie to which it’s attached, this song is, well, a lot of things at once. It’s three accomplished musicians with deeply idiosyncratic styles all doing their thing together, but it’s also clearly working under pressure to be cinematic. Thus, the string section, the drama, the up-and-down foreground-as-background while two center-stage vocalists try to be each other’s backing vocals. An interesting kind of chaos, but not really something that’ll be remembered outside of the context in which it was created.

Hannah Jocelyn: The secret of Everything Everywhere All At Once is that it’s essentially a superhero movie without the annoying, synergistic things about superhero movies, and flips the Marvel formula of deflating serious moments so that silly concepts (hot dog fingers, the universe on a literal everything bagel) carry unexpected weight. David Byrne should be a perfect fit, as even his most out-there stuff is still accessible and even his simplest love song is off-kilter. Similarly, Mitski’s last two records are increasingly poppy while still finding room for key changes and unpredictable melodies. This collaboration with Son Lux is beautiful, but ends up a surprising slog, merely restating the messages of the film after said film has hammered its messages into viewers’ brains. An end-credits comedown after a movie so chaotic and loud makes sense: anything more would be further emotionally draining. I still left the movie theater sobbing, but not because of the song. 

Oliver Maier: Too twee to be moving, but Mitski and Byrne’s voices are a surprisingly good match, her stately soprano playing beauty to his slightly uncanny beast. Solid!

Nortey Dowuona: The slumbering drums feel at once too slow and too weak while Mitski and David Byrne stumble into each other without being able to properly harmonize, squashed by the howling strings and horns. A messsss.

Alex Clifton: I like all three artists because they’re a little off-kilter, but I also like it when that energy is matched with something more steady to ground it. This is slightly too much for my tastes; I feel like I’m tripping through the notes. It’s also a weirdly slow song that feels much longer than its 2:41 runtime. I’m sure there are many out there who will think this is the greatest collaboration ever, but I can’t care too much about it.

Ian Mathers: For those of us in households where, no, we can’t go to the movie theatre and increasingly it is feeling like we may never be able to again, there’s probably a lot of context missing here. (I would really, really like to see this movie and as yet have been too dispirited to see if there are torrents or anything.) Absent that context, I’m surprised to find that this sounds roughly like what I expected Mitski and David Byrne singing a song for this project would sound like; maybe, again absent that context, a bit more lugubrious than that. I am sure it plays better in context but there is not currently anything I can do about that.

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