Edited by Anna Mengani
Musical artist MICO has taken the internet by storm. The Toronto, Canada native rose to popularity through TikTok. He has posted videos of many of his original songs but is also known for his covers of artists such as 5SOS and Panic! At The Disco. So this makes the release just that much more special. Being a northerner myself I was excited to review this release because it hit even closer to home.
If you've been following MICO's musical journey you probably already know that the release of this EP, 'the tears we fight', is a huge step in his career and long anticipated. One of my favorite things about MICO as an artist is his dedication to his craft. 'the tears we fight' is some of MICO's most raw and best work. Being an indie artist has so many challenges that he has not only fought through but also was incredibly transparent about. He has been working on the EP since 2021 (after he released 'down!' in 2022) with the release of a few singles along the way. This included fan favorites 'lie lie lie' and 'cut my hair'. Another thing unique to MICO is that he is making waves in the Pop-Punk genre, opening an avenue for Filipino artists to shine through.
MICO's EP includes 7 original songs written by himself. The tracklist is as follows: 'peaked', 'another soul', 'bad note', 'prove me wrong', 'maybe i'm the problem now', 'm.i.a.', and 'bruise my face'.
My personal favorites off the EP are 'maybe i'm the problem now' and 'bad note', though I also heavily relate to 'peaked' which I will delve more into later. Following the release MICO has also started his first U.S. tour 'The Fantasy Tour' and as of September 20th 2023 performed his first show of the tour in Los Angeles.
Diving into the tracks:
The moment I heard the teaser for 'peaked' I immediately felt less alone. If you have ever taken a gap year or feel like you're 10 steps behind everyone else this song is sure to hit you in your feels.
It's the personification of the guilt and somberness that might come with making a decision for yourself and not for anyone else. Even if you don't regret it you always have a "what if?" moment.
I also love the slowness of the song in comparison to some of the others. MICO's vocals are incredibly soothing and smooth throughout the duration of the song. It's a more than perfect addition to the EP.
another soul -
If you've ever been someone's second choice, this track is for you. It explores the heartbreaking feeling of putting your everything into a relationship only to find out they checked out a long time ago. MICO's vocals in this song are to die for. You can just feel the raw emotion portrayed in not only the brilliantly layered backing but also in his voice. I have nothing but good things to say about this one.
bad note -
'bad note' holds a deeper personal connection for me, the day it was released I was traveling outside of the country for the first time on my own and had forgotten to download music to my phone before we took off. By happenstance (bad note), 'I bruise my face' and 'cut my hair' were 3 of 5 songs I was able to retrieve offline, so I listened to them on repeat for the rest of the duration of my fourteen-hour flight. Then, given the circumstances, provided me a way to distract myself from my fear of flying and was an integral part of the transitional phase of life I was in.
Immediately upon hearing this song the first vocal note hit during the lyric "dial tone" made me fall in love with this song. I'm always captivated by MICO's vocals but the deeper registers are probably some of my favorite technically for him. If you're looking for a more upbeat yet still mildly emo song this one should be your go-to. It perfectly captures the essence of getting out before you crash. This song is a solid 10/10 for me.
prove me wrong -
This song is the essence of falling in love. It captures the tension between not wanting to get your hopes up but still falling head over heels anyway. It's just as edgy as it is beautiful. an organic beautiful chaotic perfect mess. The song itself has an incredibly bouncy and zesty intro which is an entire vibe in itself.
maybe i'm the problem now -
I absolutely adore this song. First of all the music video is incredibly artsy which is fantastic. The tangy guitar chords and funky percussion are something extraordinary. Its feel-good beat contrasts with its edgy lyrics effortlessly and I cannot get the chorus out of my head. It tops my previous favorite song off his second thoughts EP (2022), which was 'make me leave'. If I had to choose a favorite off this EP it would be this one for sure.
I remember when MICO first released the teaser for this song on TikTok. It was one of the first singles off 'the tears we fight' that he released. It felt like it took forever because Amicos (MICO's fans) were so excited about the release. When it finally came out I remember sitting in my University common room and listening to it two or three times over. It has such a prominent rock vibe that I always feel the need to jump around while listening to it. I've definitely been caught screaming this song in my kitchen while doing the dishes. It's just that good! Not to mention it has some of the most relatable lyrics I've ever felt connected to.
Some perfect examples of this are the lyrics:
"Eighteen, yeah, I got big dreams
But it don't mean sh*t if I can't stop dreaming"
"Got lost inside my twisted head
Couldn't go my way, too late
All my efforts to a wasted end"
This is a song for all the dreamers and hopeless romantics out there, we finally have words for what we feel.
bruise my face -
This song is probably the most raw on the album which is why I love it so much. It's one of the first times we truly hear the dedication and emotion that he puts into all of his songs. It's emotionally moving and incredibly challenging to the listener, especially if they've been on the receiving end of a toxic relationship (platonic or otherwise) and needed the space to heal. The lyrics that stood out the most to me were:
"It's not my job, it's not my place
To take your hits and bruise my face"
These lyrics hit home. It's a testament to standing up for your own emotions when you have nothing left to give. This song also showcases MICO's vocals incredibly well. There is so much talent packed into this piece, it's incredibly mind-blowing and beautiful. (Note, that this song is also where we get the title for the EP!)
In conclusion, MICO's EP showcases his undeniable talent as a lyrical and musical genius. If you haven't listened to his music yet, you should! Additionally, stay updated with his social media for more updates and covers. I hope you're able to build an emotional connection to not only MICO's music but all of it. Check out micotoronto.com for merch, tour dates, and all the latest in the MICO-verse.
(See what I did there!)