If you’re like most people living in the digital age, the first thing you do in the morning is check your phone. It helps you wake up, blink out of drowsy dreams and fold your mind open for the day. It preps you for a day of performance. Social media, at best, is a bright-eyed method of keeping track of things–your friends, your family, your favorite celebrities. At worst, it is a nightmarish merging of performer and audience, a dissociative platform made for watching and being watched. In Megan and Shane’s single, “Alone,” the band enters into dialogue with the effect of “gaze” in technology, and the urgent yet impossible desire to escape it.
I wanna be alone/Disconnect the phone/I was made for more
Is it possible to be truly alone in 2020? How far into the woods do you have to go before you are out of the reach of any other human being, any rumbling engines, any feeble cell signal? Megan and Shane have no shortage of musical options to investigate this question. The two-person band has experience in many musical genres. They are self-proclaimed “veterans of punk scenes, bluegrass circuits, ska bands, even hip-hop acts, all of which informs their work with the School of Rock franchises they operate in Arizona.” But for this particular topic, the band chose their favorite genre: country.
I look around and all I see/Are the faces of the people wishing they were free/And I know/That’s just how it goes
“Alone” punches the question of solitude from technology into the swaying ease of a country track, complete with harmonica, mandolin, guitar, and drums. It may seem like a disconcerting combination–the music scene more frequently sees technologically-critical songs using exaggerated “techno” effects–but this effect is refreshing. The speaker points clearly to what is wrong with the world, the people who wish they were free, and simultaneously resign themselves to it, since “that’s just how it goes.” Yet the following line makes a movement towards escape, or at least an attempted escape, as the speaker decides to “pack up the truck” and “make a run for the hills.” At its core, this song seems to be a song about escape, about yearning for disconnection when it is nearly impossible to do so successfully in a technological world. This tension is heightened by the position of the songwriters; how can rising artists resist participation in the gaze of social media when that very gaze is what funnels attention to their art?
“Alone” is a three minute track about watching, being watched, and aching for escape while simultaneously looking for connection. The single will be featured on Megan and Shane’s upcoming album Daughter of Country, which drops on September 3.