Phenix Rises from the Ashes on “Meltdown”
There are certain topics in music that never seem to age, with each new generation of artists coming up with its own contemporary take on them. Love is the obvious first choice in the discussion but a close second might be the idea of struggle and perseverance. Over the years, people from around the world have used music as a vehicle to share the stories of pain and suffering which are often then accompanied by the resolutions, offering listeners a glimmer of hope to a dark tale. Nashville singer Phenix has offered up a raw look into her dealings with emotional pain in her hard-hitting single “Meltdown.”
The song acts as a musical depiction of the climactic moment when things are looking bleak and one cannot take it any longer. It’s the convergence of not only the external factors bringing one down but also the realization and acceptance that we are imperfect and often at least partly culpable for our downfall. While many writers elude to this particular moment in someone’s life, Phenix confronts it head on with the intensity and vigor one might expect from someone going through such a difficult time. Her singing is expressive throughout, showing reckless abandon as she sings lines like, “Why do I pretend / Where did I become this f**king monster / I’m no better than anyone.”
Phenix’s tendency to repeat her words throughout “Meltdown” adds to the feeling of spiraling into the depths of anxiety and emotional disaster. In the chorus she writes, “You never know until you’ve lost it / you never know until you’ve lost it / I think I’ve f**king lost it / I’m having a meltdown,” and then goes on to repeat the last line several times. Although it may feel redundant here, we have all had those kind of hopeless moments where all we can think about all the things that are messed up instead of possible solutions.
Even though the song itself focuses on an emotional melt down, Phenix interestingly adds a silver lining to the story, but only in the song’s music video. She bookends the video with some spoken word excerpts that further explain her concept. She writes, “It’s not our downfalls, but how we persevere – how we rise from the ashes – that truly defines who we are.” She even leans into the destruction, saying,” let your struggles empower you because it’s in this sweet madness and in this glorious sadness where we truly find ourselves. And the possibilities become endless.”
Even though the idea of struggle and perseverance are not new fodder for songwriting, Phenix puts her original stamp on the topic, mostly through her relatable depiction of these kinds of emotional battles. There is a palpably raw energy in her vocal delivery that taps into the emotions so many of us feel in those moments. And after it all, her spoken words show wisdom and hope that listeners and viewers alike would do well to follow.