To the surprise of his listeners, as well as himself, Kyan Palmer’s “Burn Mona Lisa” did not start as conventionally as you may think. Rather, this track is the product of the 21 year old student’s marketing thesis project.
The electro-pop rhythm of the song, mixed with R&B vocals makes this tune a definite radio hit. The ‘spacey’ beat makes for easy listening, while the lyrics tell an emotional love story; “Drownin' out sounds of you baby/ Haven't been feelin' myself lately/ Eluding these walls that contain me/ Goodbye to the petals of the daisy”.
One of the things I love most about this song is it’s symbolism in the chorus;
“Burn Mona Lisa/ You're not as perfect as I thought you were/ Keep your eyes locked on me/ Well I'll escape your binding glare/ Yeah, you're the hand that feeds me/ But, I see past those oil pastels/ Say you don't want to hurt me/ But you might as well”.
Kyan uses the ever glamorized and mysterious Mona Lisa in comparison to a former love, exposing the truth and pain behind the beauty. Through methods of losing control, he finds he gains control, and belongs to himself again;
“Can't look to the past now/ Forever it's black now/ I'm not going back/ No...no/ Find strength in some whiskey/ Try to fight me I'm not losing/ Cause, I'm the owner of myself again…”
The second verse details that although awed and adored; beneath the brush strokes, framing, publicity, and status, what is the Mona Lisa aside from a painting of a woman? Who are the real women that are hiding under their masks? In this day and age, it is difficult to tell who and what is real;
“Stop.../ Take a look around/ I used to think you were beautiful/ But what are you now?/ And underneath those brush strokes/ Without that mask that you put on/ Oh you're such a joke…”.
Kyan wants to expose that although idolized or seemingly beautiful, beneath the surface, the most gorgeous can be ugly, and anyone who says they are perfect, is lying.
Palmer ends the song with a repeat of the chorus, however changing the last line from “Say you don't want to hurt me/ But you might as well” to “Say you don't want to hurt me/ Well I hurt myself”. The thought provoking line is a realization that by only looking for the beauty in the beast, you will only end up hurting yourself.
With the song taking about an hour and a half to record, mix, and master, Kyan says it only came to him after some trial and error;
“As someone who never wrote songs before, I had no idea where to start. So, after I got done with class every day, I would go to my school’s music building and sit down and write. It was a few weeks of writing lines and chords that were all awful and led to incomplete songs. It was actually when I gave up and went home to my dorm room that ‘Burn Mona Lisa’ came to me. The reason it wrote itself is because I wrote about my life instead of some fabricated idea. That’s why it clicked so fast”.
From practicing to be a pro-golfer, to moving to New York City to pursue his true passion in music, Kyan realized one thing many people forget is the importance of marketing and networking, hence how the project came about. When it came time to pick his thesis topic, he decided to combine his two main interests of marketing and music to see how far he could go. Knowing the importance of exposure, he has sure got it by quickly climbing the US, Canadian, and Singaporean Spotify Viral Top 50 Charts. “Burn Mona Lisa” already has 1.5 million plays and counting.
Turn up your speakers and give “Burn Mona Lisa” a listen, it is definitely a good track for those chill days. Although the song was a bit of an accidental hit, this Arizonian is going to keep them coming with two upcoming releases already set for March 2017.