A View From The Top #27

by Finn Dickinson

I was hoping there’d be something fresh at the top of the charts this week, but as is the case with a lot of chart-toppers, it looks like Mike Posner is here to stay, at least for the time being. So, after three weeks of entries covering I Took A Pill In Ibiza, a song about how Posner took a pill in Ibiza, what more is there to say?

Let’s start with the music. The Seeb remix of I Took a Pill in Ibiza is not good. Not terrible, but certainly not good. The song starts off with Posner’s awkward singing and a generic house meander which drifts along aimlessly. Around a minute and a half in, Seeb begin sampling and pitch shifting Posner’s vocals – a really cool, fun and innovative technique which definitely hasn’t been done to death in recent years. The song then repeats its few musical ideas in a totally linear fashion for a few more minutes before it ends. I’m certainly not bashing the verse-chorus format, which is a cornerstone of pop music (and one which has proven itself time and again), but it doesn’t really work when the musical ideas it’s flouting are as vapid and subpar as they are here.

Posner’s original isn’t amazing, but there’s at least some development to it, and the vocals don’t seem as unnatural in speed as they do here. Much like a pride of lions stripping a zebra’s carcass to the bones, Seeb strip the original track of any musical merit, leaving it feeling totally one-dimensional. I wish I could go on, but there’s not really anything to talk about beyond this. The song’s abrupt end is both welcome and baffling – it left me surprised there wasn’t more, but glad that there wasn’t.

Now, onto the lyrics. I Took A Pill In Ibiza isn’t actually about Posner’s taking a pill in Ibiza. It’s actually three and a half minutes of Posner feeling sorry for himself and implying that we ought to as well. He sings about all his material possessions in a kind of knowingly insincere fashion, implying that we should feel sorry for him, but never bothering to explain why. In brief, fleeting moments, Posner seems to display some genuine self-reflection and regret. But soon after lamenting his hedonistic, materialistic lifestyle, he undercuts himself by saying “fuck it, it was something to do”.

I took a pill in Ibiza To show Avicii I was cool And when I finally got sober, felt ten years older But fuck it, it was something to do.

I wonder what Posner wants from us. He appears to seek sympathy, but on account of what? It can’t be his prior drug use, which has little impact on the song’s narrative, and the ramifications of which are dismissed by Posner as soon as they’re brought up. What then? It seems Posner himself can’t even decide, forcing a plethora of self-pity upon his listeners in the form of his wealth, his fame, his inability to open up, his lack of friends and his status as a one-hit wonder (hmmm). During the choruses, Posner abandons any serious attempt to elicit sympathy and instead sings “You don’t wanna be high like me / Never really knowing why like me”. I’ll just have to take his word for that at this point.

For someone who asserts “all I know are sad songs”, Posner isn’t great at writing one. I Took A Pill In Ibiza is an omnishambles of vague, mawkish lyrics and utterly unremarkable music, and is a hugely disappointing chart-topper as far as I’m concerned. Here’s hoping the pills run out soon.