America Online

America Online single cover

America Online1) is a song by The Midnight. It is the first single and second track from their album Monsters. The single was released on May 13, 2019.2)

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The song was written by band members Tim McEwan and Tyler Lyle and produced by McEwan. It has a running time of five minutes and forty-nine seconds and is in the key of B minor.

During a tour stop in Spring 2019 Tour about a month before the single's release, the band talked with NewRetroWave about America Online:3)


As a kid you’re sort of [disconnected] from the world… But when you’re in your teenage years, everything is sort of inner-conflict, relationships, all happening at once. The tensions of romantic love, acceptance in groups and things like that.

…it’s not a sunset right? It’s more of a sort of blog track. I love going on vaporwave track playlists on youtube. I love the low-grade, low-fi, bitcrushed sound – it’s like that but with a bit more of a cleaner palette, a cleaner mix. So, that one will set the tone. Tyler is definitely on it, but in a bit more of a…vocodery way.

In an interview with Magnetic Magazine after the release of Monsters, the band discussed the themes of the song as well as its evolution and production:4)


Tim: This sets the tone for our album. We’re in the era of connectivity. Gone are the days of being a kid, riding around on bikes, exploring the world around you. You’re a teen now and your nights are spent online in your bedroom, logged onto chat rooms, while the door to your parents is shut and you are searching for your own identity.

Tyler: This track was basically done and we’d decided to do it as an instrumental, but at the last minute I decided to try and write something. By that time we knew what the album was about roughly. This became the premise of the record- is love necessarily reciprocal- is hate? What is intimacy without proximity? Are we really connected at the bottom of all of this, especially when “all of this” is mediated by so many layers that seem un-human.

According to McEwan, the synth used in the opening of America Online is Serum with EchoMelt 2 added to get the uneven tape jitter effect.5) The vocoder used is a mix of VocalSynth 2 from iZotope and BitSpeek.

The date on the single artwork for America Online is August 6, 1991, which is the day the world's first website was published by Tim Berners-Lee at CERN.6)

If I love you, will you love me?
If I want you, will you want me?
I’m reaching, are you reaching out?
If I touch you, will you touch me now?

Through the wires to the heart
Phantom fingers fumble in the dark
I thought I did; I felt a spark

Are we all one beating heart?

If I love you, will you love me?
If I hurt you, will you hurt me?
I’m reaching, are you reaching out?
If I touch you, will you touch me now?

Through the wires to the heart
Phantom fingers fumble in the dark
I thought I did; I felt a spark

Are we all one beating heart?

Or are we strangers?
Am I a stranger?

Lyrics source7)


  • songs/america_online.txt
  • Last modified: 03/03/2021 15:27
  • by Jens Møller