Skip to main content

Meiko: Leave the Lights On



I’m a rocker at heart–one glance at my hair (and tattoos, and clothes, okay I get your point) will tell you that. I cut my teeth on Nirvana, R.E.M., and Guns ‘N Roses. But I do loves me some good pop music, especially anything with a quirky vocal or an alt or indie bent.


About once a year a song will catch hold of my brain and refuse to let go. In 2012, it was Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used To Know.” I played that one over and over until my family and friends begged me to stop–but I ended up inhaling everything Gotye released, and Kimbra, too for that matter. Last year, it was “Off to the Races” by Lana Del Rey, which began as a humming-it-in-the-shower sort of thing and rapidly became an obsessive, play-it-incessantly sort of thing. I was forced to buy Lana’s entire catalog just to dilute my nearly maniacal need to hear that song. In fact, excuse me while I go put it on.

My point is this: sometimes, all it takes is one song to unlock a whole world. “Leave the Lights On” is one of those songs.


Meiko‘s pop opus has a sparse opening: just a stripped-down Casio keyboard beat and a chimey arpeggio drenched in reverb. Then the bass comes in. Then the acoustic guitar. It’s an unusal production sequence for singer/songwriter fare, and it catches you right away. Then Meiko’s feminine, whiskey-and-marshmallows voice comes in like a whisper: “We’re in the dark, it’s getting late / I really should go, he’s waiting for me”–and you’re hooked.

My resistance to purchase is stronger than I’m proud to admit, particularly since the advent of Spotify, which allows me to play a song to death without ever paying a dime. But after a ten-day bender of Meiko on a loop, I relented. I bought The Bright Side, Meiko’s sophomore effort, and one of her EPs besides, and I don’t regret either purchase. Packed with gems like “I’m Not Sorry” and “Stuck On You,” the album would be more than worth the $7.99 I paid even without “Leave The Lights On,” which is by far the strongest track.

TIP: Spend an extra $3.99 and get her EP, You and Me.


Jeff Garvin

Author of SYMPTOMS OF BEING HUMAN and THE LIGHTNESS OF HANDS. Cohost of THE HERO'S JOURNEY podcast. Rock musician, D&D geek, aspiring revolutionary.