“We have two very different shades of dark when it comes to our art,” explains MXMS vocalist Ariel Levitan, clarifying that one side of the dark electro-pop outfit focuses on vulnerability and having a message to deliver, while the other is more “beat-driven, sexual, and self-destructive.” However, both sides seem to be represented in the duo’s latest single and music video, “Death Row,” which made its premiere via DreadCentral on October 28, just in time for Halloween. A song about a female drug addict who without fearing death retreats wildly into her delusions, “about being on death row and being comfortable with that,” the song presents a more metaphoric aspect to the songwriting of Levitan with multi-instrumentalist and Shiny Toy Guns member Jeremy Dawson; less autobiographical, but no less emotional, personal, or honest. With the video inspired by fashion photography and the “complicated and addictive relationship that women have with men,” the video was directed and produced by Felicity Jayn Heath (Rihanna, Steve Aoki) and shot by Jeff Berlin, with set design by Sean Forresster, who has an extensive history in the horror film genre.
“Death Row” follows up on the “What’s My Name” single, which was released in honor of World Suicide Prevention Day, while the song’s corresponding video honored World Mental Health Day in September. Prior to that, MXMS released the Funeral Pop debut EP in May, the title also referring to the band’s particular musical style.