The topic for Day 3 of my 30 Day Song Challenge is “A song with a location in the title”, and my pick is the mesmerizing “Bottom of the Deep Blue Sea” by MISSIO. The bottom of the sea is admittedly a somewhat unorthodox location, but a location it is!
Based in Austin, Texas and comprised of singer-songwriter/producer Matthew Brue and songwriter/producer and instrumentalist David Butler, MISSIO burst onto the music scene in early 2017 with their single “Middle Fingers”. I loved the trippy song and quickly became a fan of their edgy, thoroughly original and eclectic sound that’s a glorious mash-up of gritty alternative electronic rock, hip hop and dreamy emo vibes. Then there’s Matthew’s uniquely stunning vocals that register in the higher octaves just below a falsetto, giving them a distinctive sound unlike any other singer, and making their music instantly identifiable as only MISSIO’s.
They followed “Middle Fingers” with “Bottom of the Deep Blue Sea”, which spent many weeks at #1 on SiriusXM’s Alt Nation Top 18 Chart in the summer of 2017. Both songs were included on their outstanding debut album Loner, which also featured “Twisted” and “Everybody Gets High”, which was recently awarded a gold record certification by RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America).
Like many of the songs on Loner, (as well as their second album The Darker the Weather // The Better the Man), “Bottom of the Deep Blue Sea” was inspired by Matthew’s struggles to attain sobriety as he reflected back on his teen years as an alcoholic and addict. As noted on the website GENIUS, “he uses the feeling of being pulled down to the bottom of the sea as a metaphor for the failure to overcome addiction (or anxiety or depression).” In a 2017 interview with the Pop Break, Matthew explained that the song “is a conversation between the victim of temptation and the tempter, represented by the chorus. The way that I always describe addiction is that it’s very sexual in a way. You have this beautiful thing that’s staring at you and it’s constantly telling you to dive in. Then you actually decide to give in to whatever your struggle is, and it just pulls you down. It does a 180 and literally controls your life. Whether it be addiction, anxiety or depression—the feeling is that you’re trying to swim up from the depths and it’s just pulling you to the bottom of the sea.”
[Verse 1] The blood surrounding my body crushing every bit of bone The salt, it seeps into the pores of my open skin I wait on you inside the bottom of the deep blue sea I wait on you inside the bottom of the deep blue [Chorus] Welcome to my cage, little lover Attempt to rearrange with ya, baby Still don’t know your name, Miss Honey Let’s go up in flames, pretty lady [Verse 2] The sweet surrender of silence forces me to live alone Locked and loaded, where the hell is peace of mind? I wait on you inside the bottom of the deep blue sea I wait on you inside the bottom of the deep blue [Chorus] Welcome to my cage, little lover Attempt to rearrange with you, baby Still don’t know your name, Miss Honey Let’s go up in flames, pretty lady
Musically, the song is both haunting and captivating, with an utterly brilliant arrangement. The song opens with somber piano chords accompanied by tapping percussive synths, then Matthew’s fragile-sounding vocals enter the proceedings as layers of magical and eerie synths, pulsating reverb and heavier percussion are added, creating a mysterious ethereal soundscape that evokes the dark and dangerous beauty of a deep blue sea. For me, the biggest highlights of the song are the gorgeous hypnotic piano riff during the interludes between the verses and choruses, and Matthew’s enchanting, highly emotive layered vocals. I can listen to “Bottom of the Deep Blue Sea” on endless repeat.
My 2019 review of The Darker the Weather // The Better the Man has garnered more than 2,800 views, making it my highest-viewed album review ever. I’ll be seeing MISSIO live in L.A. on July 30, and cannot wait!
Header photo by Alexandra Thomas.