Picture this: you’re in the car with a few friends. One of them is driving and the other one controls the aux cord while you are in the backseat with the window rolled down. Summer is approaching. It’s the tricky time when some people wear shorts and get cold and others wear pants and get hot and then everyone gets rained on.
Vibrant green trees whiz past your line of sight. You’re leaning against the car door listening to your friends argue about their final projects.
All of a sudden, the music switches. A light feminine voice comes on, accompanied by playful ukulele and deceptively solemn lyrics. You are reminded that your life continues to change. Bittersweet emotion fills your heart, in that car with your friends, all of whom may fall by the wayside as you grow and evolve and lose and gain and live.
Mxmtoon’s newest album, “rising”, is all about growing up and the pain that comes with it. She tackles nostalgia, “growing pains” and even dancing around your room singing along to your favorite song. The album is a great juxtaposition of childhood whimsy and bittersweet thoughtfulness.
It was released at a great time, too. The upbeat melodies and catchy tunes are perfect for summer and everything is super easy to sing along to.
The first song in the album is a bit of an outlier from the theme. It’s the embodiment of the rise of the Dark Academia aesthetic, referencing artists Frida Kahlo and Vincent VanGogh and lamenting William Shakespeare, giving way to a different breed of nostalgia that still fits seamlessly into the album.
After that, of course, you have more typical examples of nostalgia and growing pains. A bittersweet ballad to an elderly loved one. Reminiscing about a school dance. Wondering if you’re mature enough to make it in the real world.
One thing I will say; this is the kind of thing Urban Outfitters would bastardize in their pearly bourgeois stores, similarly to Rex Orange County’s album “Who Cares?” which I reviewed earlier this year. Everything is very well written but it’s so musically simple that it’s easy to sell. I predict that this album will be more popular among young people than wider more mature audiences despite the heavy subject matter.
But does that mean it should be skipped? No. For anyone who is struggling with being away from home and losing your childhood, this is the album for you.
“Will I always be the words I wrote when I was seventeen? /
Will the world still be around when I turn sixty-three? /
'Cause getting older's getting old /
And I wish someone would've told me”
“Friday night and she's bored at home /
Her friends are gone, there's no place to go /
With ABBA on her cracked iPhone /
It's her own sad disco”
Milo Openshaw (he/him) is the opions editor for The Front winter '22. He's a junior majoring in creative writing with a teaching endorsement. This year he will read 60 books and write at least one.
You can reach him at email@example.com or you can find him on Instagram @miloohno if you want to see him. Or don't. (I wouldn't recommend it.)