I like it when songs, or musicians, rather, come up with an ill metaphor for living life. I like it because it’s always interesting to see life through someone else’s eyes, and seeing how they approach that life is often valuable or uplifting. My favorite’s probably always going to be the pigeon/phoenix metaphor on Cannibal Ox’s The Cold Vein (Pigeon bird got a breath left/ Heart beat no more/ Phoenix bird morph and we live off the G-force”), but XV’s “Mirror’s Edge” is one that I think about a lot lately, and dig a whole lot.
The hook sets it up: “It feels like I’m running on walls, and I don’t wanna touch the ground/ And if you say that I’m lost, then I don’t wanna be found.” The verses are about being on the come-up and living life better than you ever expected, and they always come back around to the chorus by way of a direct lead-in. The chorus is kind of the point of the song. It’s what XV is feeling about where he’s at in life.
I like that this song sounds very open and casual, kinda dreamy. There’s a pointed refusal in the chorus and XV’s delivery, like someone’s pointed out that he’s about to fall, but he’s too busy enjoying the moment to take a moment to accept that. And that’s why this POV works so well for me, I think. It’s about being in a moment and appreciating that moment. It’s about understanding that moments are momentary, but that isn’t a reason to not enjoy that moment to the fullest.
But “Mirror’s Edge” is also about appreciating what you’ve got, but not getting so wrapped up in that moment that you lose sight of what’s coming. Enjoy, but be prepared. Walk that knife’s edge, but have the stitches ready. You can hear it in his voice. He’s incredulous and elated, but with his eyes wide open.
It’s a simple metaphor about living in the moment, but it works so well because XV doesn’t drape it in magic tricks or wordplay. Even if you don’t know Mirror’s Edge, the game that inspired XV’s song, it’s easy to get. It works.
(The reverb-y sound of the song puts me in mind of Gorillaz’s “Doncamatic,” too.)