Running on ‘Autopilot’

Photo by Anush Singhal Student Publications

Music is powerful. This is one truth I have experienced time and time again throughout my life. 

From providing an escape from reality to effortlessly describing complex feelings, music is more
than an art for me; it’s a tool. 

In my apartment, my roommates and I often work in our living room together but are always debating on who has “aux.” 

One loves 2000s and indie rock and the other enjoys certified pop bangers, whereas I prefer punk and anti-pop. 

As you can tell, there is a lack of overlap between these Venn diagrams, but the one artist that makes it is Quinn XCII. Quinn XCII is an artist I consume on a daily basis. 

I found his music at the beginning of 2020. The album “A Letter to My Younger Self” was playing on a loop during quarantine. 

Quinn came to Atlanta in Sept. 2021 for the “Stay Next to Me Tour.” Naturally, I was there basking in my first concert experience. 

Incidentally, my review of the event was also one of my first articles when I wrote as a staff writer for the Technique

I am currently obsessed with “Autopilot” by Quinn XCII. 

Hilariously and unfortunately, it best describes my mental state during the semester right now. 

As the name suggests, he tackles the idea of being stuck in autopilot, especially as life gets busy. 

However, there is more behind the glitz of fun upbeat synths; in fact, these are desperate cries. 

Diving into the lyrics, he starts by describing fear, his interactions with it and how he combats it. Quinn lays it all out bare. He paints a picture of his “demons.”

He demonstrates how they have brought him to this isolated area where the “world’s back on rewind” and the “window pane is as gray as the sky.” 

This scenario best describes the relationship between me and my past self. I am always looking to improve, and as such, there is always a “demon to cleanse.” 

Sometimes, I am so focused on change and dealing with my past. 

I do not give my current self the time of day to actually enjoy my growth as an individual, thus living life on autopilot.

During the debate Quinn has with himself, trying to determine the words that best describe his current mental state, the audience better understands his debilitating situation. 

In the past week itself, I can connect to this lost feeling, knowing that something is not going your way but unfortunately not having the tools to tackle it.

Along with the strong imagery of being trapped and stuck, Quinn also calls on the fog that surrounds him. I love the fog. 

It acts as a means of sensory deprivation and, to me, provides a warm comfortable feeling since I can’t see past anything. 

However, in the same way, it ensnares me. I surround myself in this artificial fog, which is additional work I take on to deprive myself of time to reflect on my feelings.

The sonic choices made by Quinn only further build on this chaotic but dull imagery. He undercuts his emotions and blurs the focus. 

He achieves this using an infectious flow and bumping bass and drums to distract the listener. 

He may have done so to provide a joyful appearance or even to just highlight that everyone has to deal with this ‘noise,’ such as unwanted opinions from others. Whatever it may be, I love it. 

The juxtaposition just further emphasizes to me that sometimes chaos is beautiful. 

It also reminds me that addressing my issues with a positive mindset helps resolve them with fewer hurdles to overcome.

Is this a happy song? No. Is it uplifting? Well, it can be. 

Not every good song needs to have a meaning or make a profound impact on your life. However, “Autopilot” did leave me with a sense of hope. 

It is a song that dives into Quinn’s psyche and struggles with mental health, but when I listen to it, I get a sense of relief. 

Rather than ignoring these depreciating behaviors, I am better able to acknowledge these feelings and move past them.