Quarantunes: Looking Back on Selfish Machines by Pierce The Veil

I've been revisiting my old music choices — and I mean back from my middle and high school emo years — and reliving the past during the COVID-19 pandemic. Because of this, I've been investing a lot of time into listening to post-hardcore and metalcore music, and I got to thinking about my emo origins. Back in eighth grade, I became really interested in the discography of Pierce The Veil, and whether I liked it or not, I was introduced to a scene of wonderful artists through them; a lot of my modern inspiration for poetry and drag looks come from PTV. Granted, Selfish Machines was never one of my favorite albums by PTV, but I have to recognize the profound impact it had on post-hardcore music and culture.

  1. 1. "The Boy Who Could Fly"

    My favorite song from Selfish Machines HAS to be "The Boy Who Could Fly." I mean, the transition from "Southern Constellations" to this song is absolutely phenomenal, and I absolutely LOVE the chaotic energy frontman Vic Fuentes brings at the start. Plus, who doesn't love our main man Jaime Preciado?? His backup vocals are a great addition to the natural intensity of the song and reflect Vic's emotional feelings.

  2. 2. "Besitos"

    I would be a total goober if I didn't include "Besitos" somewhere at the top of this list. Now, let's get to analyzing the wonderful and quirky antics of PTV in this song. First off, I greatly appreciated the touch of Mexican folk instrumentals at the beginning — this I believe is a reference to PTV's collective Mexican heritage; the beginning of the third verse also reflects the roots of Mexican music. Oh my god, I wouldn't dare forget *the best line* to come from "Besitos": "A diamond bullet and a gun made of gold, she was covered in blood last seen in San Francisco." The way the music switches from the left to right ear is absolutely immaculate.

  3. 3. "The Sky Under the Sea"

    PTV did a great job choosing this song to close out Selfish Machines. The intro to "The Sky Under the Sea" is as intense as "Besitos," which is really clever and reflective of Vic's attention to detail and storytelling. This is also the song in which Vic directly acknowledges the words "selfish machine" and it's an accurate interpretation of his feelings toward his capacity for love and how he's dealt with past relationships; he's been vain but has turned those emotions into a musical masterpiece. There is also some great ocean imagery and metaphors for water-related intimate moments in this song.

  4. 4. "Bulletproof Love"

    I know, I know. It seems almost sinful to have "Bulletproof Love" ranked as fourth out of twelve songs. But! I do have my reasoning; I don't think "Bulletproof Love" matches the vibes of the top three songs, but it's a classic that deserves all of the attention it has garnered. Can I also just say that I love the absolute sense of tragedy Vic channels with his voice; it's the perfect contrast, yet complementary instrument, for the chorus and the darkness of the lyrics. Plus, props to Tony Perry and Jaime for their amazing guitar work in the song!

  5. 5. "Disasterology"

    "Disasterology" doesn't have to slap as hard as it does. It gives me very strong "alien lovers are making out in a dark abandoned house" vibes for no reason, but it just makes perfect sense. Let's talk about how chaotic the chorus is!! It's so damn wild, and I love it to pieces. Plus, its repetition for quite a big chunk of the song is very intriguing in the best way possible.

  6. 6. "The New National Anthem"

    Just like a few other songs on Selfish Machines, "The New National Anthem" calls back to the band's Mexican origins, and this fascinating Latin flair hits so goddamn good. The speed of the hook is perfect and Tony and Jaime do an amazing job at making the song feel as if it's going faster than it really is. And oh my god, the second half of the verse is incredibly violent, but it's very poetic since Vic is expressing his intense emotions for the girl he speaks of in the lyrics. Overall, I approve of this throwback to my middle school emo phase.

Being one of Pierce The Veil's best albums, Selfish Machines has a special place in my heart and that of all other fellow emo kids. And whilst I only listed six out of twelve songs in this article, I have to acknowledge that every song had something good about it, even if it wasn't all too memorable to me. If you were curious, #7 = "Caraphernalia," #8 = "Southern Constellations," #9 = "Million Dollar Houses (The Painter)," #10 = "Fast Times at Clairemont High," #11 = "I Don't Care If You're Contagious," #12 = "Stay Away from My Friends." Rock on and carry on!