Mythological stories are timeless for a reason. There’s something in these stories that all of us can relate to on some level. Besides that, a lot of these tales are just plain fun and exciting. Myths are full of heroic deeds, fearsome creatures, and gods who take pettiness to the extreme. What’s not to love about that? Even today we still draw inspiration from these tales in our storytelling. Portland duo Small Million–comprised of Ryan Linder and Malachi Graham–are the latest to give their spin on one of these stories of old with new single “Sirens.” Substream is premiering this epic tale here this morning!
If you haven’t guessed by now, “Sirens” finds vocalist and lyricist Graham exploring the titular mythological creature, said to lure sailors to their doom with beautiful songs. In mythology, we don’t often hear the story from the perspective of the being or deity, instead focused on the humans thrust into the action. The vast majority of those humans tend to be men. Graham changes that up here, smartly crafting the story from the other side of the equation. It’s inventive and interesting, and will give listeners a new perspective on these myths to think about. On the musical side, Linder balances a light touch on the synths with a array of percussion that breathes life into the track. “Sirens” sounds like a modern rendition of a song that might have been sung and passed through the generations in ancient times.
Asked about “Sirens,” Graham said “I wanted to retell the traditional mythology of seductive sirens luring sailors to their death from an angle where the sirens don’t give a fuck about the men and are in love with each other. I think so many narratives have been told from a presumptuous male perspective where straight men assume they are the protagonists and a story is all about them. In this case I wanted to reframe it so these sirens are singing love songs to each other that the men overhear and assume is a “show” for their own benefit, but they’re a sideshow to the real passionate love story. With the line “I’m not the promised land” I’m trying to call out a male gaze perspective of women as territory to be conquered, or as property that they are owed, without taking female agency and desires into account. Fuck that!”
You can give “Sirens” a listen below. Small Million’s new EP Young Fools is due out on October 12.