Mike Posner and Naughty Boy live their best lives on "Live Before I Die."

Pop music of all kinds - club pop, hip-hop, EDM, and so on - all have associations with decadence, hedonism, self-destruction. "It's better to burn out than to fade away," "live fast, die young, and leave a good looking corpse," and other such stereotypical BS.

There's nothing particularly hardcore about checking out, giving up, dying young, or other such rock 'n roll cliches. These days, being apathetic and numb and jaded is the norm, not some edgy rebellion. It also reeks of privilege, at times, when people with good lives design to feel absolutely nothing, in a world where people would do anything to live or feel.



In "Live Before I Die," Mike Posner and Naughty Boy draw parallels between the urge to live vibrantly and Mike Posner's recent walk across America. Posner walked nearly 3000 miles earlier this year, "to live a life I could be proud of." He almost lost his life in the process. Posner got bit by a rattlesnake during his journey and nearly lost his leg. He fought his way back to his feet, only to return to his journey.

On "Live Before I Die," Posner discusses, with frank clarity, how he used to spend every night in the club, smoking weed, chasing a buzz, trying to get laid. He discusses how this left him feeling empty, burned out, and uninspired. Flipping the "sex, drugs, and rock 'n roll" script on its head, Posner talks about how getting clean and sober has renewed his creative spirit, filled him with vitality, making him more productive and, ultimately, given him a new lease on life.

Making good music and vibrant art requires living vibrantly, vividly, passionately. Not only do you need to take in as much detail from the world around you, you also need to acknowledge what it means to you, and why it resonates with other people. You're not able to do that when you're fogged out and running from everything.

We Are: The Guard are here to remind you to live vividly. And courageously. Drop "Live Before I Die" on your headphones and go out and see the world.


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.