With it's dark aesthetic, catchy melodies, and stirring story-telling, 'Midnight' is an experience you don't want to miss out on.
On February 1st 2019, Set It Off released 'Midnight', their fourth studio album. This record is already very popular with listeners, having achieved over a millions streams on Spotify in just 48 hours of it's release.
It's no surprise that this record is doing so well - it's a mix of genres with their own dark twist that makes it stand out from the crowd. There are relatable and emotive tracks about the effects of mental illness on a person, as well as a story of love gone wrong and they're so catchy that you'll want to dance to all of them.
The first single of this release is also the first track of the record and it really sets the scene for our story.
'Killer In The Mirror' opens the record with a surge of energy and immediately lets the listener know that this record is going to have some darkness in it. From the second it begins you know it's going to be filled with intensity with a buzz that sounds like it's coming from some kind of machine hitting notes quickly paired with the percussion that sounds like clapping out a quick beat that you can't help but feel expected to keep up with.
This track seems to talk about losing faith in humanity. The line "I used to believe in justice / A place where there was better judgment / But now I’m feeling so disgusted /By the have it’s and the have nots" definitely gives this vibe.
There's the punchy line "Knock 'em in the teeth now," chanted by a chorus in reference to those you can't trust anymore and giving a sense of unity. There's definitely some anger in this song, and a sadness with the conclusion he's come to about the people around him.
While the story is dark and there are cleverly placed elements emphasise this, it's a track you want to dance to and listen to over and over again.
So, we've established that there's a theme of feeling desperate, hopeless, and even angry from Killer In The Mirror, but there are also uplifting tracks in the record and we got a taste of this from their next single, 'Lonely Dance.'
This track was referred to by drummer, Maxx Danziger as "the anthem of the introverts" and it definitely feels that way to us. There's a sense of comfort in taking time for yourself and allowing yourself to escape through music or other media that helps you escape or feel safe.
The bold brass instrument rising throughout the track brings a sense of triumph and joy. This combined with the plucky guitars which feel like they could come from Spain makes for a track you can use as your own escape to dance to.
The themes here were clear. This record is something special that would cover topics like mental health in a way that feels raw and personal, but can be used to help heal. We see this theme recurring in a number of songs in 'Midnight'. This theme naturally slips into the songs about love and relationships, creating a cohesiveness between the two themes and giving a more realistic representation about how mental health can impact your relationships with other people.
The tracks in this record talking about relationships are so good because they talk about experiences that anyone who has been in a relationship has lived through. They're relatable and have really hard-hitting lyrics and the music works with the story while still feeling like a bop every single time.
One track which stands out to us is 'Go To Bed Angry' which features Wayfairers. This was the perfect track to have a collaboration on because it's likely about trying to discuss what's going wrong and why you're unhappy but having the discussion turn into arguments, shouting, and insults. In the end it feels like nothing is being resolved and there's bad blood between the two people. By having two voices it's like hearing the discussion they should be having and want to have rather than having one person talk about their thoughts.
One of the best parts about this record is they way they chose to end it. Sometimes you hear the last song in an album and it feels like it's been cut off short. It doesn't feel like it should have ended there. 'Midnight' doesn't leave you with that feeling.
The second to last song is called 'Unopened Windows' and it's full of sad nostalgia for what could have been. It's the part in the movie where the protagonist really thinks about times come and gone and thinks about what they really want, even though it feels like it's too late or their dreams are out of reach. Despite the hopeless lyrics, it feels like you're looking back on a life you're leaving behind for better things.
The final song 'Happy All The Time' transitions us from the gentle sadness to a feeling of hopefulness with a trumpet sounding from the distance, getting closer. It's a calling to a new life with better things and a healthier outlook.
The lyrics aren't exactly happy, but they express acceptance of the fact that "it's fine to not be happy all the time" and that "you're not crazy" if you're struggling. Sometimes this is what you really need to hear. You can accept that life won't be perfect, it's okay to cry, it's okay to feel bad, and you're not a failure for hurting. This is the ending that 'Midnight' deserves. It leaves you feeling uplifted and satisfied.
Set It Off did an incredible job creating this record. It's an experience that you can immerse yourself in and let yourself go. It's therapeutic to sing words that are hard to say out loud and feel the things that are difficult to feel in a space where you can find safety, understanding, and acceptance. 'Midnight' is everything you could want from a record and more. We can't recommend it highly enough.
If you'd like to experience 'Midnight', you can listen below:
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