We are led to believe that a utopian society is the ideal place for all. However, as in the real world, it would only be ideal for those who control the narrative. For the privileged few, the world is their oyster and the rest are picking up their scraps. Indie pop duo Monroe Moon’s latest single is ironically titled “New Utopia.” It’s not the celebratory, victory lap for humankind as its name suggests. Instead, it is a stark reflection of how we react to the pressure of trying to live another day in someone else’s ideal world.
Written by Warren Malkin, the brother of guitarist Theo Malkin, “New Utopia” is told through a pseudo dystopian lens. There’s no overt, jackbooted army enforcing martial law. Instead, it’s on a relatable level with contemporary references such as cable news. Lead singer Bunny Monroe sings about someone “recounting verbatim” what they “saw on the television.” The fear of “the holy rollers…coming for you” being parroted back is a shot at the paranoia that the 24 hour news cycle has wrought. After all, it’s “just another day when all you do is give it away in the new utopia” when you cede critical thinking to talking heads.
To keep the dystopian ambiance alive, there is a downtrodden melody that gives credence to the notion of the world giving you the cold shoulder. It’s not warm and inviting by any stretch. Gritty acoustics and spectral piano generate the soundtrack for this cold, indifferent world. There’s no escaping the blunt realism that Monroe Moon is projecting here.
Despite all of the harsh reality that’s put forth on “New Utopia,” it is not defeatist. To admit defeat would be giving in and accepting the world as it is. Instead, Monroe Moon keeps the growing darkness at bay by acknowledging its existence, not cowering from it.
Written by Travis Boyer
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