Ryan Adams wrote each of the nine songs on his album 29 to represent a different year of his 20s. It was his great exit album and tribute to a tousled and uncertain decade, one that is at the very least, self-defining. I am 29-years-old at this very moment, turning the big 3-0 in May. Lately, I’ve been hearing new songs that have been speaking to me, but not the mature me with a restaurant job and a student loan payment plan, but rather, the 19-year-old me. They are songs I see my weird, boot-cut jean, Kerouac-obsessed self truly identifying with. Be it their bubbly sound or angsty lyrics, I am taken back to the past me, a similar me, one on the cusp of something. Perhaps this is a perfect case of nostalgia or perhaps it is regression in pure form, but either way, in the following tunes you might recognize something of an old you, someone okay with it not figured out:
HAIM – “Falling”
The Haim sisters take anachronism very seriously. With small touches of '90s dance and major touches of '80s pop, HAIM evokes the likes of Martika, Belinda Carlisle and T’Pau’s “Heart and Soul.” It’s difficult not to picture your teenage self upset at the 21 & over limitation of the HAIM show, but it’s quite easy getting your older sibling’s ID, excited at the fact that you have the address down and now only need to know their zodiac sign.
Javelin – “Light Out”
Add a cello to any song and I’m there. Add a synthesized cello to any song and I’m totally still there. There’s a poignant moment in the cult classic film But I’m A Cheerleader, when Tattle Tale’s quiet “Glass Vase Cello Case” plays over a particularly intimate scene, the deep string sound creating the perfect tone. While “Light Out” is more Passion Pit than bedroom acoustic, it’s that simple addition of a cello that can turn any romantic moment from awkward to electric.