Home Song Reviews Mentalease questions if you really should “Push a Button”

Mentalease questions if you really should “Push a Button”

by Ryan Gonzalez

Describing their genre as shoegaze, ambient, chillwave, and bedroom pop, today we have Mentalease, a 3-piece band based in Chicago, IL.

With the track “Push a Button” – off their EP of the same name – they start with a pulse of electronic sounds that are like warning signals before bringing in percussion and a mid-range piano into the mix. The vocalist then comes in, singing in a way that vaguely reminds me of Gregorian chant:

Push a button and happy comes out

Like the sun hiding behind moving clouds

Like a perfume scent you barely catch

In the air your first love used to wear

Listening to the song, I feel like it represents technology, particularly our smartphones. They’re a powerful tool where we can simply push a button and get instant happiness in the form of memes, funny videos, or streaming of shows. Sometimes it may even be bittersweet memories from a long time ago, such as seeing Facebook memories of when you were with a high school sweetheart.

Push a button and happy comes out

Like a breath of air when you’re coming up

Sometimes it’s too hard to do something else

Tapping away the day until you’re emptied out

This instant happiness can become addicting to the point where you waste whole days on your phone. It can be much easier to sit on a device that provides instant gratification than to face real life problems. I myself can count numerous times on the weekends where I’ve spent the first hour of my day glued to my phone, only to get up so I can stare at my phone on the couch instead of in bed.

From here they dive into the refrain bringing in crashing waves of percussive electronic sounds and an underlying vocal siren.

It was there and then it left I guess I’ll do it again

I guess I’m lying I don’t really like that

If I leave tonight I might miss out on something

So I Check it again

Check it again

Check it again

When you can look at what’s going on at this very moment on your smartphone, you can often get inundated with choices. It gets to the point where instead of picking something you just stay inside, so afraid you’ll miss out on something that you miss out on everything, checking your phone over and over and over again.

Push a button and happy comes out

Brain on autopilot, nodding off

I think I’ve seen this before, I don’t even know anymore

I’m staring out, I’m staring past it

It begins to feel like you can’t even think for yourself. So many different thoughts, opinions, and ideas are being shared across the world every day that you don’t even know what your own thoughts are.

Are any of these thoughts even your own, or just something you heard on the internet and accepted on autopilot?

There’s no time to consider this as Mentalease is back into the refrain.

There’s not much different this time except for the vocalist repeating “check it again” several more times than previously, further reiterating the vicious cycle you can get stuck in on smartphones. The band explodes with a surge of percussion and electronic sounds before ending on a sustained low piano note.

I greatly appreciate the ending to the song, offering no answers to this problem. I think it’s appropriate as there are no clear-cut answers with learning how to live in a world filled with technology.

This song is a great reminder that we all need to make sure we watch our screen time, however that way may be. After all, we control our phones, not the other way around.

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