This song has been on my mind ever since I first listened to it.
Oftentimes, when I listen to a song for the first time, I focus on the instrumentation of it, like the harmony and melody or how the instruments work together. But when I listen to Mona Lisa by mxmtoon, an up-and-coming indie-pop artist, the lyrics had my full attention.
In “Mona Lisa”, mxmtoon writes about how she often takes the place of Shakespeare by creating characters in a narrative instead of living as the main character in her life. As a songwriter, she often hides behind her lyrics and in this song, she highlights how she doesn’t want to just be another story but wants to feel like she is the central aspect of her own story instead of being just the author.
What really hit close to home for me while I was listening to this song was the environment I listened to it in. It was a rainy day and I was walking back from class alone observing everyone around me. The lyrics felt so relatable at that moment because it felt like I could apply them to my life at that very moment. I am a writer too and similarly, I often feel like I spent too much living through my characters instead of trying to make an impact in my own community.
The lyrics “I’m so tired of being a book on the shelf | Tired of stories for somebody else | Think that I’m ready to start a new chapter | I’ve been looking for some way |to turn it around | Looking for someone to give me the crown | I wanna feel like I finally matter | I wanna be a Mona Lisa, ah-ah | The kind of girl that you can dream of, ah-ah” resonated with me.
In a world where we are constantly feeling like other people are living better lives than we are due to all the exposure we get to people’s handcrafted posts on social media, this song really encompasses that feeling of wanting to be an inspiration for someone.
The lines “Who could change my point of view? | The way that Van Gogh uses yellow or the self in Frida Kahlo | I could be that for you” drive home this point.
mxmtoon writes that she wants to be a muse and be known for having a specific purpose in life and she compares that to how yellow is such a distinct feature in Van Gogh’s paintings. The entire premise of the song centers around Mona Lisa who was the muse, a woman, behind the painting of the famous Mona Lisa painting done by DaVinci.
I just love the relatability of this song and especially when you realize that everyone has the same thoughts or feelings and you aren’t alone in feeling a particular way.
In contrast to the rather sad lyrics, the song itself is very upbeat and starts off with a strong ukulele intro that launches the listener of the song into a dream world. It makes you feel like you are inside someone’s daydream. The guitar chord combined with mxmtoon’s wispy dreamlike voice in the chorus really hooks you into the majestic environment that the song creates. In addition to this fantastical world that the song puts you in, the music video has a similar enchantment to it that makes you feel like you are in the fantasy mxmtoon has created of being a muse for an artist.
Sometimes we all have this feeling that there might not be anyone we truly inspire or play a huge role in their lives but, maybe we just might be the Mona Lisa to someone out there after all.
Be sure to check out the music video for “Mona Lisa”.