While culturally we agree that adolescence ends when our teenage years do, the feelings associated with that time don’t leave us completely. Post-college graduation, the start of a new job, or the end of a significant relationship can make what we consider “adulthood” feel more like our awkward teenage years. We expect teens to feel things deeply, and the angsty slamming of doors is chalked up to puberty and raging hormones. But once you hit your early twenties, you feel pressured to at least appear that you have things figured out.
Those of us in the midst of this era know that having it together is just that–an appearance. In reality, the transition to adulthood does mirror the uncertainty of early teenage years. Mitski Miyawaki introduces the idea of a second adolescence with the title of her new album, “Puberty 2,” released June 17, 2016 on Dead Oceans. Through her precise, addictive melodies, Mitski explores the reality underneath this pressure to seem put together. Mitski, along with other young artists, offer their nuanced experiences of early adulthood through thoughtful arrangements, leaving listeners with anthems to lean on in the struggle of growing up.
The Internet, Ego Death
The Internet’s vocalist, Sydney Bennett–better known as Syd–is in the midst of early adulthood at twenty-four. In “Under Control,” she sings directly to her band, as she mentions in their NPR Tiny Desk concert: “I woke up impatient and anxious/ chasing dreams in my sleep.” Syd lives in the in-between–she mentions in “Get Away” that she still drives her old car and lives at home, but in the same track, she sings about a “life of luxury” with the confidence of a full-blown adult with a swanky apartment.
In a 2012 interview with LA Weekly, Syd said she came out in the band’s music video for “Cocaine” partly because of the lack of openly gay female artists in music. Four and a half years and a Grammy nomination later, the Internet remind us we can find our own versions of success without having it all figured out.