Monday Music: Songs to amplify the despair you feel when growing older

Dance in the rain or speed in the suburbs to these ennui-inducing tunes

Monday Music: your weekly themed playlist. Image courtesy of The Peak.

By: Kyla Dowling, Staff Writer and Old Woman

At the time of writing this, I am exactly a week away from turning 20. I’m certain other people have experienced angst over getting older to some degree, but as someone who spent her 17th birthday crying atop a ping-pong table while listening to old Avril Lavigne songs and wearing a crown made for a toddler that reads “Birthday Princess”. . . let’s just say that growing up hits me hard. As such, I’m treating the readers of The Peak to the songs that assist in my yearly mental breakdown. When you listen to these songs — which you should because they’re all depressing masterpieces — please think of me weeping over adulthood. 

“Richie Tozier” by Ok Otter

Image courtesy of Michael F Doyle

Yes, this song is named after a character from It by Stephen King. No, you do not need the background context of the book, the movies, or the ill-fated mini-series to understand it. The chorus lays out the main theme of the song: “I’ve been away for a long time/But I finally made my way home/Everybody expects me to be the cool guy from the radio.” You know that feeling of returning to your hometown, visiting your old haunts, and feeling like you’re the main character? The song encapsulates that feeling, but makes it darker. What if you’re not as cool and wise as everyone thinks you are? You’ve been away from your old friends, and maybe you think you’re better than the people who stuck around your hometown, but the character growth that leaving home gives you is not all positive. And maybe — just maybe — when you realize you haven’t become this idealized version of yourself, you think that you should have never left. The best part of this song is that it is upbeat, so you can howl about the perils of getting older without getting better as you drive past your old elementary school. 

“Pool” by Samia 

Image courtesy of Grand Jury Music

“Pool” is the introductory song to Samia’s debut album, The Baby, and it starts the album on a high, albeit nostalgic, note. The first voice we hear is her grandmother, singing to her in Arabic, above an ethereal underwater synth. Samia has sung about her grandmother before, in her 2019 single “Milk,” but here she uses the recording of her grandmother to evoke childhood nostalgia before wondering how long she has left in magical moments. The second verse dissolves into the outro, where Samia asks an overlapping deluge of questions, her voice rife with emotion. As the song fades out, her final question echoes: “Is it too much to ask?”

“Class of 2013” by Mitski 

Image courtesy of Mitski

If you’re on a certain side of TikTok — and by that I mean the side that consists of queer young adults who are a little too obsessed with indie music — you’ve probably heard one of Mitski’s iconic lines before. In “Class of 2013,” Mitski, a Japanese-American singer-songwriter and angsty indie queen, strums her guitar and howls into it: “Mom, will you wash my back this once?” The entire song addresses her mother, as she begs to sleep in her childhood bed and be taken care of before having to grow up. In less than two minutes, the lyrics and Mitski’s crooning, pained voice tell a story of feeling plunged into adulthood after graduation and wanting to “dream for a few months more.” In this age, when many young adults are stuck at home during the pandemic instead of striking out on their own, this song is a gut punch from your lost inner child to the part of you who thinks you’re all grown up. 

“Ribs” by Lorde 

Image Courtesy of Universal Music NZ Ltd.

If you’ve ever been victim to the gnawing horror and encroaching anxiety of getting older, this song is for you. Heralded as a teen angst anthem, this song brings forth nostalgia of teenage moments: throwing a party when your parents leave you home alone, listening to the same song over and over without getting tired of it, and sprawling out on the pavement with your best friend, laughing until your body hurts. Lorde repeats the chorus with more and more fervency as the song goes on, clinging to her youth, before the line “It drives you crazy getting old” warps into “It feels so scary getting old.” After that shift — the realization that growing up isn’t all that she dreamed of — she tries to cling to the memory of her childhood, singing: “You’re the only friend I need/Sharing beds like little kids/We’ll laugh until our ribs get tough/But that will never be enough.” The echoing ending, with the repetition of “that will never be enough,” is a bittersweet acceptance that you’ll never get your youth back.