Mellah’s ‘Habit’ is a Contradictory Lockdown Release

South London-based Mellah returns with ANOTHER electric, outlandish indie-pop hit ‘Habit’. And what’s more…there’s even a cracking self-directed video alongside it.

The first thing that really struck me about this record was its relevance to the now. It feels like a double-edged sword post lockdown, reminding us that previous habits will have to be altered to adhere to the ‘new normal’ in society.

I’m loving that artists have continued releasing music throughout lockdown, and weirdly look forward to looking back to this strangely documented ‘lockdown era’. 

Speaking of lockdown releases, Mellah took part in a La Blogotheque’s Stay Away Show on the 5th May, keeping the world entertained from the comfort of their own homes. And, although there aren’t any upcoming scheduled gigs, I’m sure it won’t be too long!

Mellah also featured on Channel 4’s Back to Mine series alongside artists Tom Grennan and Izzy Bizu. 

 

‘Habit’ punches with similar synthy sounds following the previous 2020 release ‘Family Fun’, hitting that same playful vibe with an astute political undercurrent. The track employs an experimental pop feel, rooted in classic old-school guitar-based indie.

Of the track, Mellah explains: 

“Funnily enough, ’Habit’ is about habits. Falling into the same, often harmful, cycles and vices despite knowing that the outcome will be no different from before”. 

Mellah uses a basic guitar melody which works well with the funky synth overlay in ‘Habit’. The track also features a repetitive bridge before the final chorus. Here, Mellah strips the background to expose vocals, transitioning into a more vulnerable sound, forcing listeners to take in the lyrics and take meaning from the (otherwise) optimistic song. 

It’s safe to say the playful sound to this track doesn’t see eye-to-eye with its so-called complementary lyrics. Mellah tackles tricky issues – like the feeling of being trapped – throughout his vocal, so relevant to the universal lockdown that has ensued over the last six months. The funky upbeat guitar riff is well and truly contradicted by defeatist lyrics:

 Like a fool I stumble over old ground/I’ll never learn

‘Habit’ seeks to show listeners that we need to look within ourselves before we can adapt to our surroundings. Habits can be transformed, but not without a sense of personal autonomy. Thinking about it this way, it’s kind of empowering. 

Habit it keeps you out…

Habit it ties you in

There’ll be no change without change within 

For me, this track really feels like a shift back in time. Like I’m returning to teenage angst years, constantly inside my own head entangled in what felt like a never-ending cycle of living. In reflection, the whole COVID situation has brought so many of us back to our parents’ houses and with that the echoes of teenage angst and the want to be different. I’d wager ‘Habit’ really connects with a lot of people at the moment!

Mellah’s self-directed music video (filmed in his own home) creates a carefully planted contradiction, employing a get-up-and-maniacally-dance melody alongside dark, powerful film footage. It acts in partnership with the oddball Indie-pop sound, leaving the track with an even stranger aura. 

The music video for ‘Habit’ is undeniably clever, following Mellah and his clones around his South-London home and bearing witness to self-sadism. Purposefully self-harming for what seems like boredom’s sake. The series of self-harm presents Mellah intentionally burning his hand on the cooker, walking on pins, and nailing his hand to his bedside table amongst other disgustingly creative ideas. 

Viewers are made to feel as though Mellah and his doppelgängers have lost all concept of pain. Or, controversially, that pain is feeling in an otherwise numb world. 

Habit’s such a pain

Pain is such a bore 

The contradiction between backing and vocals is what really does it for me. I love the way that serious issues are put forward jokingly to remind listeners that human habits don’t just go away overnight. ‘Habit’ delves into a whole realm of what it is to battle with yourself (but if you blink you might miss it).  

 

‘Habit’, along with recent releases ‘Family Fun’ and ‘Death, Pillage, Plunder’ gives Mellah a platform for future music. Could this mean we’re in store for a new EP/debut album?… We can only hope!

 

Watch the video for ‘Habit’ below:

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