When I leave work, the sun is high in the sky; the streets are busy. I’m tired and ready to go home. All I have to do is walk the five minutes to the train station.
I decide to listen to color theory by Soccer Mommy, and the calm atmosphere of this record relieves any tension I’ve built up from the day. Very reminiscent of early 2000s songs like “Why Can’t I?” by Liz Phair and even some Mazzy Star, I feel lulled into comfort. I’m 23, struggling with post-grad life, but my frustrations finally feel recognized; validated. This record lulls you into comfort in ways that pretty much anybody will find familiar. It’s relaxing in a melancholy kind of way — perfect to listen to as you stare out the window of the train and pretend you’re in a music video. I spend my ride home doing just this.
The songs in the album navigate through various experiences, complicated and emotionally-charged. The first track in the album, “bloodstream,” is about childhood innocence and transitioning to adulthood. Everyone is sure to have gone through this, I’m sure. But I feel hyper-aware at this moment, having just been thrown into full adulthood. I hear loneliness echoed in the track “night swimming,” with samples of voices featured from a distance, like they’re calling from afar, and it reminds me of how many close friends of mine are in states miles away, successfully stepping into their professional careers. This distance has felt more than just physical, of late.
“color theory is tinged with hope that I’ve been desperately looking for lately.”
Post-grad life has proven to be challenging, and color theory is tinged with hope that I’ve been desperately looking for lately. I’m constantly plagued with a feeling of inadequacy; swallowed up by the struggle of landing a job in the field I dedicated four years of study to. My twenties are proving to be a second puberty — I’m in a confusing stage in my life, constantly learning new things about myself. The only light at the end of my tunnel is my acceptance letter to grad school and the support from my parents. Soccer Mommy didn’t write this album with my situation in mind, I’m sure, but it feels like she did. I’m sure she’ll be happy that I’ve found a piece of myself in this record.
Throughout this album, Soccer Mommy tackles mental health, indulges in self-deprecating jokes, and reflects on aspects of herself she doesn’t like, without sounding depressing. It’s more uplifting than a vainly happy.
“Soccer Mommy didn’t write this album with my situation in mind, I’m sure, but it feels like she did. I’m sure she’ll be happy that I’ve found a piece of myself in this record.”
The song “circle the drain” resonates the most with me, especially during my train ride back home. From the surface it feels upbeat, but as I begin to tune the world out and focus on the lyrics, I immediately feel adrift in a breeze of sadness:
Hey, I've been falling apart these days /
Split open, watching my heart go round and around
Round and around /
Circle the drain
I'm going down
“circle the drain” feels like a short episode of depression; something I’ve gotten used to. As I listen to this song, I only feel a ghost of that depression, watching tall buildings pass through the window. I finish my train ride home sitting comfortably with a feeling of sadness. Not wallowing, just looking out the window, letting color theory tune me out.
Gabrielle Rueda is a writer and photographer living in Miami, FL. She enjoys collecting books and records, ABBA, bagels with cream cheese, and black eyeliner. You can find her on Twitter.