Meg Myers' 'Take Me to the Disco' Is Brimming with Anthems for the Lonely and Neglected
Meg Myers' Take Me to the Disco creates common ground out of a melancholy that builds camaraderie rather than pity.
Take Me to the Disco
20 July 2018
The title Take Me to the Disco denotes a potentially lighthearted and jovial endeavor. However, Meg Myers' sophomore release is the exact opposite. An album devoted to deep introspection and the musical depiction of anguish, Myers is characteristically mercurial yet unequivocally empowered and self-assured. Whereas her previous album Sorry orchestrated a relatable rage, Take Me to the Disco revisits the torment but this time finds Myers resoundingly unapologetic. Take Me to the Disco is brimming with anthems for the lonely and neglected. Myers' album, in many ways, creates common ground out of a melancholy that builds camaraderie rather than pity.
As a whole, the album is a meditation on loneliness and the feeling of indifference verging onto spurn. The title track's opening lyrics "You never knew when I was lonely / You never knew me at all" are evocative of the rest of the album's themes. Conversely, Myers uses loneliness and insufficient emotional and social connection to create a sense of fidelity with her listeners. Throughout Take Me to the Disco, Myers never overburdens the album with prosaic sentimentality: rather, it is undeniably relatable. When she sings "Only the lonely could understand where I have been / Always on a journey inside myself" she reaches out to her audiences and finds a connection. The only response to that lyric is to say "yes, I do understand" thereby affirming a connection within the opening moments.
The following track "Numb", tackles the loss of identity. Myers wrote the song as a response to the dictations placed on her by her former label. "Numb" deconstructs the problematic expectations coming from the behest of those in power. Lyrically this is affirmed by her depiction of authoritarianism when she sings "Tell me how to write this / Tell me how to fight this war / I'm in your custody / But I'm not a criminal." Myers' rejection of control is reiterated by the video that depicts her in standard corporate office bedecked in business attire. The juxtaposition of the clothing with the cubicle farm immediately illustrates her loss of individuality.
As the video progresses, viewers watch as she is continuously touched and poked. Much as the audience is unable to help, Myers is passive in response. Here, Myers is showcasing her lack of control as she is subjected to the decrees of those in power. From tucking her hair behind her ears or patting down her collar, the images of these micro-aggressive touches belies the control Myers asserted by rejecting her former label. In a powerful feminist statement, Myers recapitulates then rejects the ideas and actions that would have forced her to fabricate an inauthentic identity.
Myers is unapologetic throughout Take Me to the Disco. "Jealous Sea" documents the overwhelming feeling of jealousy that's underscored by an added string section. At no point during the track does she demonstrate any qualms about her impassioned response. Similarly, in "Tear Me to Pieces" she normalizes vulnerability and anger. Her voice ascends to an almost primal scream when she accuses her partner of being a "fucking liar". This sentiment is softened yet maintains strength in "I am Not Sorry". Apologizing and rejecting emotionalism is a passive trait commonly associated with stereotypes of women. Yet Myers bucks apologies and acts unrepentant as a proclamation of her own power.
Myers' debut album featured dark and somber imagery that reappears on Take Me to the Disco. The tracks "The Death of Me", "Little Black Death", and the "Funeral" illustrate the macabre. "The Death of Me" features the vocals of producer and collaborator Christian "Leggy" Langdon that turns the track into an intimate conversation. "Funeral" features synths straight out of a Dario Argento film and supports the morbid lyrics "I'll give you my heart when I'm six foot deep / It's beautiful / Baby my love's like a funeral." Despite the preoccupation with death, each of these tracks is surprisingly life-affirming. The disco vibe of "Little Black Death", is visceral, and probably the most danceable track on the album. The title is the translation of le petit mort, the French phrase for temporarily losing consciousness. Typically, describing the banality after feeling elation, the term is also associated with orgasming. Essentially, Myers is musically exemplifying the feelings equated with great pleasure and despair. For Myers, the expenditure of emotion is a valid human response.
French literary theorist Roland Barthes believed that reading great literature evokes a feeling of la petite mort. Undoubtedly, music including Meg Myers' Take Me to the Disco awakes a similar response.