At five minutes long, the single has the power to lull you into a trance of electronic echoes with Santana’s ghostly vocals haunting you for the duration. And man, do I love it. It’s a lullaby of dark fantasies that you don’t necessarily want to wake up from. The lyrics are a few phrases on repetition that include demands such as “close your eyes and think of me” and “you belong to me.” But Santana infuses a certain amount of vulnerability in her voice that tells of a person in pain who maybe can’t quite help themselves.
And in fact, that’s what the two were going for. Digital said he was inspired by a character who maybe has a difficult time with doing things that are super extreme. “Originally I wanted to create a moderately steady track that could shuffle it’s way into a ‘driving music’ conversation,” he said. “However at the time, I was inspired by a character who, perhaps at no fault of their own, struggles with doing things that are super extreme – so what would it sound like if they were the one driving the car? I relayed that to Stefanie Santana: ‘Let’s make a song about someone who’s crazy to the point of being really malicious, but keep in mind that maybe she can’t help it.”
Digital said the track took just under a year to make, with him and Santana meeting up for just two recording sessions at his house. He said the second session had Santana improvising the lines she already had in mind while Digital recorded and arranged it. “I just asked her to sing like she was Adele at one point, and after a single PBR – she is the most talented singer I’ve worked with in person.”
The sound of “Straight to the Head” is reminiscent of Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross’ score for The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. It’s got the same eerie tone to it, and if the rest of Exit 8 is like this single, then that can only mean good things.
Look out for Exit 8 later this summer.