Worldbuilding song by song – Mirrorworld

Is there anyone in your life who has gone weird after watching too much Youtube? Been taken in by conspiracies, decided that science and facts are the enemy? That’s who this song is about.

I can’t say there’s a specific person close to me who has been taken in by things like that, to be fair, but it’s something you see a lot in the world. There was a time when we all basically agreed on what the truth was. It started somewhere in the 20th century, and carried on all the way through til maybe the late 90s. There were a small handful of TV channels and radio stations, there was a mass media culture and whether it was correct or not, we basically all shared an understanding of the facts. 

We’d disagree how to react to those facts, but the facts were the facts.  

At some point that began to break down. Rather than mass media, we now have fragmented media with a thousand channels selling us a thousand different versions of the truth. There still is an objective truth, but far too many people don’t understand that a talking head on a social media channel isn’t a reasonable way to discover it. 

Coincidentally, shortly after I released this song as a single in 2022, the author Naomi Klein published a book called Doppelganger: A Trip into the Mirrorworld which uses exactly the same metaphor to explore exactly the same subject matter. I guess it’s not that unique a metaphor, huh?

So this song is about the sense of loss the main character feels, watching a family member succumb to internet craziness, losing themselves in a parallel world of alternative facts, stuck in a mirror world where they can’t be reached. 

Its soundworld is centred on an open D major tuning – a tuning used on a few songs on Worldbuilding – with the guitar part often equal to the vocal rather than just an accompaniment. The backing is sparse synths and some guitar countermelodies.

It’s one of the most difficult to play on the album and when I’ve tried it live a few times I haven’t quite got it right. In particular I keep getting the move from the final verse to the final chorus wrong. Not sure why, except the timing of it always seems to elude me. 

For a while Mirrorworld was going to be the first song on the album. I only changed it because I thought Nothing You Can’t Buy was a better opener because the vocal starts right at the beginning of the song, whereas Mirrorworld has an instrumental intro. But it was the first song I wrote for Worldbuilding and remains the blueprint for the album’s sound. 

Next up: Cuckoo.