BY BRYN TAYLOR //
Welcome back! This week, we’ll be diving into three songs about growing up- songs that really capture that “coming of age” essence. Some find it exhilarating, others find it terrifying. Whatever it may be, it’s powerful, and any music that makes us feel that way has a whole lot of frisson in it. These auditory stimulants, like always, leave no genre or time period untouched, so get ready. Let’s get into it.
The first song we will be dissecting is “Twentytwo” by the indie rock band known as Sunflower Bean. Although an American based band, Sunflower Bean is produced and popularized in the UK, making it a more underground band in the US. The single was released in February of 2018. It’s lyrics depict the pressures and penalties of growing up as a young woman. The song begins semi-acapella, stating not-so tongue in cheek lyrics such as “If I could do it, I would stay young for you”. The strings, which are the main accompaniment for the song, join in at the beginning of the second verse, once lead singer Julia Cumming regards herself as “busted and used”. The song has a similar sound as Irish band the Cranberries. They focus mainly on an airy, light string accompaniment as the bones of their sound, occasionally using choral pieces to break up the repetition. All together, the band creates a dream-like feel for the song, as if you are stumbling through your adolescence dazed and confused, but still finding the beauty within it.
Making their second debut in Frisson, Laundry Day appears once again! This time, I’ll be looking at their song “Friends” from their 2019 album HOMESICK. The song deals with the heartwrenching subject of growing apart from your childhood friends. Like most of their earlier songs, their lyrics remain rather juvenile, such as “we kept growing up and I’ll say you made me who I am.” However, the music itself creates a powerful and tear jerking sound. It begins with this high pitched, electronic version of the hook. This ends abruptly once lead singer, Jude, begins his vocals. The electronic sound is replaced by a grand piano. This is the only accompaniment to the singer’s vocals, up until minute 3:16. Suddenly, the whole band joins in with not only their assigned instruments, but also their own vocals, chanting the phrase :“we got so caught up”, a comment on why childhood friendships fall apart. The moment is relatable and tear jerkingly powerful.
When singer Amber Mark’s mother died, she felt lost and without a role model. Rather than flying off the rail with grief, Mark’s wrote one of the most important and angst filled songs of the 2010s. Filled with adolescent confusion, “Can You Hear Me?” from her EP 3:33am, illustrates the emotions and lessons one learns from grieving at a young age. Although not directly about growing up, Mark’s states that it was one of the most influential moments of her adolescence, and for that reason, I thought I’d throw it into our list today. The song falls into the R&B category, which incorporates both soul and funk into her sound. She initially only uses a groove sound expressed by a deep piano track, but once approaching the first chorus, Mark incorporates trumpets, drums, and a bass line to bring the sound together. Her vocals are choppy, raw, and incredibly unique. Although a song about grievance, “Can You Hear Me?” is incredibly groovy, as well as soulful. It’s message hits you in the heart, while its beat gets you dancing. It is incredibly passionate and frustrating.
As always, here is the link for the playlist this week!