Review: Colleen Green- I Want to Grow Up (Hardly Art)

Posted: July 17, 2015 in Reviews

I Want to Grow Up cover art

I must admit, I hadn’t really paid much attention to Colleen Green in the past (minus a song or two), and even now after checking out the older records, I’m a little nonplussed; they are fine, I guess, but too lo-fi and monotone for my taste. However, since discovering the new one I Want to Grow Up (I can’t resist a Descendents reference), I find I can listen to little else. The production has upped several notches since the older material: clear, crisp, but not over-produced. It suits Colleen’s poppy indie style perfectly, where it was masked a little under the lo-fi reverb previously. She has a brilliant sense of melody, mixing ‘60s girl pop with ‘90s indie, fitting in well next to label mates Tacocat. This record is full of catchy, timeless buzz-pop, the kind of which would have probably been radio hits 40 years ago. I am at the point where I don’t understand how you can’t like this record.

So, it’s just a bit catchy, yeah? You can listen to Masked Intruder for that, right? Why bother? Well, the deeply personal and affecting nature of the lyrical themes bring it to a whole new level. The theme is pretty obvious with the title of the record: Colleen wants to grow up. She wants out of that extended adolescent phase that is all too comfortable to stay in and that Houseboat have been singing about for years. The opening title track is the only one which deals directly with wanting to grow up, but all the other songs on the record fit in with a loose overall theme of change. This is ultimately a record about self-improvement: Colleen sings about wanting to stop doing “things that are bad for me”, trying to improve concentration levels (“Pay Attention”) and wondering if her guy will ever stop being the “Wild One”. The most stripped-down, bare and confessional tracks on the album is most definitely the 6 minute-plus “Deeper Than Love”, which has Colleen detailing her most profound fears, and is kind of heart-breaking:

“Cos I’m shitty and I’m lame and I’m dumb and I’m a bore
And once you get to know me you won’t love me anymore
And that possibility worries me the most
Not harm or abuse or becoming a ghost
It’s the closeness, the intimacy
I’m afraid, it might kill me”

It is this frankness and openness which makes Colleen Green stand out. You kind of fear that this intense self-examination may become overly negative and critical, but Colleen offers hope on the outstanding final track “Whatever I Want”, an empowering call-to-arms. All the fears and doubts that Colleen highlights on the rest of the album are kind of brushed aside: I can do this; in fact I can do “whatever I want”. Colleen puts it simply: “The world I live in’s a design of my own/ Don’t have to be scared no more”. Whether this is a mere moment of hope, and she reverts back to the doubts of “Deeper Than Love”, or if it is something longer-lasting is unknown, but “Whatever I want” makes for one of the best closing tracks in recent years. It is almost enough to make you want to grow up.

DB

Listen here: https://colleengreen.bandcamp.com/album/i-want-to-grow-up

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