Brooklyn R&B singer/songwriter Alex Mali laments all the ways we hide and escape on "Eyes Wide Shut."

"An unexamined life is not worth living," said Socrates, famously. To do otherwise is simply to sleepwalk through life, wearing a pair of blinders. Or like only seeing primary colors, black, and white. You'd miss out on the soft tangerine glow of a late summer sunset. You'd miss out on the robin's egg blue of an early morning sky. You'd no doubt miss out on vast swathes of the emotional spectrum, as well. Sure, you could probably get the basics: sad, angry, happy. But you might miss out on the burning laser green of envy, or the fizzy lifting drink of excitement.

This way of living is bad at the best of times. For an artist, however, sleepwalking through life can be the kiss of death. To be creative requires being open and alive to the world around you. It requires knowing yourself, deeply and intimately. Otherwise, your art just won't resonate, it won't land with the gravitas you're hoping for.

And yet, society is set up for just such avoidance. You can scroll, click, drink, smoke, or fantasize your way through every day, until calendar pages fall away like so many autumn leaves.

Brooklyn alt-R&B singer Alex Mali lays out a laundry list of these escapists on "Eyes Wide Shut," where she dissects a relationship that's avoiding the tough stuff, the hard and often uncomfortable conversations. These conversations lead to real intimacy, real love, and not just the idea of.



"Eyes Wide Shut" is gloriously simple. Mali's vocals levitate like fireflies over a sparse glowing gossamer cloud of ambient synths. It's short, spare, and gorgeously moving.

All of the proceeds from "Eyes Wide Shut" are going to the National Alliance of Mental Illness, so this short, sweet single will also empower others to see their lives more clearly. We Are: The Guard love it when talent, heart, and a good cause come together!

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J. Simpson occupies the intersection between criticism, creativity, and academia. Based out of Portland, Or., he is the author of Forestpunk, an online journal/brand studying the traces of horror, supernatural, and the occult through music, fashion and culture. He plays in the dreamfolk band Meta-Pinnacle with his partner Lily H. Valentine, with whom he also co-founded Bitstar Productions, a visual arts collective focused on elevating Pop Culture to High Art.