Five Songs that Define Mikey Lion’s Expansive Sound

Jan 3, 2023

Gabrielle Reeder

4 min read

Mikey Lion’s musical escapades see him dance through his hip-hop roots and psychedelic sonics, all with an overarching theme of uplifting house beats. To commemorate his talent, we’ve compiled a list of five tracks that define his life-affirming sound.

1. Mikey Lion, Justin Martin - Though the Fog

Lion says “Through the Fog” derives inspiration from his experiences navigating mental health. “When things are really good, you feel amazing, and things are just working and firing, but right around the corner can always be this fucking dark period of time,” he says. “For me personally, I get pretty bad brain fog, and my memory goes to shit when I’m not taking care of myself.”

This 2021 release encapsulates the cloudy haze that rolls in when mental health turns dark. Deep melodics warp and wobble over a sweltering bassline catapulting you into a cascading atmosphere of clarity and wistful longing.

“For me, that track ‘Through the Fog’ is a representation of the highs and lows, and ultimately, it ends on a high because that’s where I wanna be going. I’m gonna get through it, and I thought it came out pretty sonically close to that feeling that I get,” Mikey said.

2. Mikey Lion, Lubelski, Jackson Englund - When I’m With You

“When I’m With You” is a shuffling saccharine ballad that utilizes a poppier approach than other numbers in Lion’s discography. Behind synthy, chromatic keys, Jackson Englund (brother of Desert Hearts regular Anabel Englund) swoons, “When I’m with you, I feel so high. When I’m with you.” Lion, Lubelski, and Englund meditate on the power of hope and belonging with this melodic showcase of their vast skill set.

3. Mikey Lion - Above the Clouds

This lilting synthy ballad replicates the airy feeling of dancing aboveground. The lightly tickled piano synths deliver a head in the clouds atmosphere that trails on the heels of “Through the Fog,” or, depending on how you view it, the calm before the storm. “Above the Clouds” dropped in January 2021, a few months before “Through the Fog.” Since the single tap dances on the positive elements of maintaining mental health, they could very well form a sensical sonic sequence. “Above the Clouds” encourages listeners to trudge through difficult times and achieve the peak feeling of soaring through the atmosphere.

4. Mikey Lion - This is the Beat

“This is the Beat” is an anthem that came together organically during a trip to El Salvador. Mikey visited the Central American country with the intention of surfing, but he soon discovered the hotel he booked came with a million-dollar recording studio. Luckily, Mikey knew the owner of the hotel, who encouraged him to use the facility at his discretion.

“It wasn’t forced at all,” he says. “I was going on vacation and I had access to the studio,” He told Gray Area. “So I had some downtime in between the surf being blown out. I couldn’t think of a better thing.”

5. Sacha Robotti, Mikey Lion - Glide

“Glide” Was Mikey’s debut on Dirtybird. The smooth, rippling basslines and an earworm chorus are emblematic of the wonky, wonderfully weird Dirtybird sound, with wistful notes of both producers felt throughout. The catchy, nuanced tune utilizes percussive voicing to position itself as a fundamental piece in Lion’s discography. Halfway through the song, the crescendoing beat explodes into a gun cock and fire, expelling pent-up, energized movement. In its final moments, “Glide” flits behind steady, syncopated, tribal bass beats and fizzles out amidst bird coos.

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