I Took A Pill In Ibiza

This is the video that sold me:

Mike Posner, “I Took a Pill In Ibiza” Live at The Roxy – Los Angeles, March 8th 2016

Just when you think we’ve hit the end of the line, that music has got no future, you encounter something like this.

Everybody didn’t sing along like this back in 1972, everybody didn’t know all the words, we were all uptight, we were all too stoned, but I first noticed this at Taylor Swift shows, before she went pop, when she was still country, when the lyrics were everything and the music served the words…everybody knew them by heart and sang along with them. That’s the change today, acts have been pulled down from the stage, into the crowd, that’s how you know you’ve really made it, when your fans see you as a regular person, one who has a moment of genius that makes them feel good.

And “I Took A Pill In Ibiza” makes people feel good.

I’d been tracking the song, figuring it was another EDM number with a hooky sound, but little meaning.

But that is untrue.

The truth is Mike Posner released it last summer and if you hear it you’ll be hard-pressed to believe it’s the same song, the original’s a slowed-down acoustic number, that’s heartfelt and suffers from going nowhere musically, but lyrically…it’s the opposite of today’s I’m a driver, I’m a winner, all positivity, all optimism all the time world. The lyrics stick out…

I took a pill in Ibiza

Now there’s nothing uncommon about that, that’s what you’re supposed to do in the Balearics.

But then…

To show Avicii I was cool

How much do we do to look cool? We’re afraid to be ourselves, we put ourselves at risk, image is everything, if they knew who we truly were they wouldn’t include us.

And I barely knew who Mike Posner was, other than he’d had some success before.

But he hadn’t had any since, which is what inspired him to write this song.

And when I finally got sober, felt ten years older
But fuck it, it was something to do

You can’t say anything negative about drugs in our culture, they’re the coolest thing going. And I’m not saying users should be put in jail, but I’ve never had a trip as good as a live experience, I’ve got more regrets than good times, and I think of all the burned out people I know who smoke ad infinitum, the dope of today, not the mild stuff of yesteryear, which will check you out and remove you from your pain, as well as society.

I’m living out in L.A.
I drive a sports car just to prove
I’m a real big baller ’cause I made a million dollars
And I spend it on girls and shoes

L.A. is all about image, what you drive, where you live, you show your wealth, it’s the opposite of the east coast, the east coast of yesteryear, when artists could still live in Manhattan. What are all these people gonna do when we go to driverless cars, owned by the man called up by an app? Youngsters know it’s your identity that counts, the rest can be summoned on demand.

You don’t ever wanna step off that roller coaster and be all alone

No, you don’t. Guys become stars, strive for achievement, for acceptance, for the perks because they want to get laid. But when they find out stardom doesn’t solve their internal problems they can’t write hits anymore, they find out their only hope is to be honest with themselves, find out who they truly are and change.

You don’t wanna ride the bus like this
Never knowing who to trust like this

Trust is everything in this world, if you’ve got no one to trust, if you’re not trustworthy, you’re gonna be uber-lonely.

And there’s nothing like being broke, losing your wheels, no one wants to hit you up on the bus because they know you’re a loser.

I’m just a singer who already blew his shot

Posner had a top ten single, but he couldn’t replicate it.

I get along with old timers
‘Cause my name’s a reminder of a pop song people forgot

Whew! You can get in the building, people know your name, but you’re a has-been.

And I can’t keep a girl, no
‘Cause as soon as the sun comes up
I cut ’em all loose and work’s my excuse

That’s the truth of being a musician, it’s hard work. It’s not like Vince and his buds on “Entourage,” there’s little time off, those are actors playing roles, whereas a musician has to create all the time and then sell it, doing publicity, going on tour, assuming anybody cares, and in today’s world it’s hard to get attention, never mind keep it.

But the truth is I can’t open up

Whew! This is a guy, being vulnerable! Do you know how hard this is to do?

I met some fans on Lafayette
They said tell us how to make it ’cause we’re getting real impatient

Everybody believes they’re a star, worthy of attention, even though this is patently untrue. The delusional ultimately have their eyes opened, but this comes some time after their impatience, they’re hanging on Posner’s words, he got there, how do they trample him and get the brass ring themselves?

But you don’t wanna be high like me

Sounds like sour grapes, but Posner’s just saying…be wary of getting what you want and finding it doesn’t make you happy, crying in your beer.

And if you listen to the original studio acoustic take, not only is it not a hit you don’t need to hear it more than once.

Until you hear the remix.

Then your head spins, the song flips, the lyrics are nearly irrelevant, they go by so fast you don’t catch them, it’s all about the sound. And just like a “Hamilton”-goer who hates rap suddenly realizes he was wrong, EDM-haters are enraptured by this sound.

This is the future the oldsters and record companies are trying to hold down. The truth is fans want to remix your work, want to make it their own, and sometimes fresh eyes and ears make all the difference, the SeeB remix made “I Took A Pill In Ibiza” a worldwide hit, embraced, ironically, by those who want to go to the island, drop a drug and cut loose.


The remix would be a hit with completely different lyrics.

But they’re not.

So what’s a boy to do? Posner bears his soul, reflects how he’s down and out, and he ends up with the party anthem of the year.

Which everybody knows.

That’s the amazing thing today, how people know at all. How do all those people at the Roxy…how were they clued in?

We all want to be clued in. But the scene is overwhelming.

But then you get an email, something catches your ear or eye, and you’re a member, you’re a believer!

And that Roxy video shot from the audience closed me.

That’s the power of YouTube, that’s the power of having a camera in every fan’s hand.

Suddenly a track comes alive, an experience is created.

This is the modern future, not a canned performance, one hermetically sealed that the audience can only watch but not embrace.

Posner has sped up his acoustic number. It’s not EDM, but it’s still the same song, it’s all about the song, he who writes the changes wins.

He who creates the changes and lays down truth goes to the top, is not forgotten, that’s the essence of Lorde’s “Royals” and “I Took A Pill In Ibiza.”

It’d be easy to dismiss the modern pop scene, EDM, say everything today sucks.

But the truth is it’s hard to find.

But when you uncover gems you’re touched, feel as you always did, it’s the same as it ever was.


SeeB remix on YouTube

SeeB remix on Spotify

“The Tonight Show” (Posner does the same take as he does at the Roxy, but with not quite the same magic, but magic nonetheless)

P.S. Posner’s number 5 on today’s U.S. Spotify chart, with 726,776 streams. The SeeB remix has been streamed 197,882,428 times so far on the service. It’s a top ten digital download. The track went to number one in the UK, it’s a hit all over the world.

P.P.S. In the old days the TV appearances would be about breaking the act, now it’s about the victory lap. A hit track today is owned by the audience, and people don’t need you unless you can do it again and again and again. Hits give you a start, but a career’s so hard to achieve, just ask Mike Posner!

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