Matthew Sweet is another one of those songwriters who ought to be a hell of a lot more popular than he is. His stuff, which often sounds like a tuneful cross between the Byrds and the Rolling Stones, just soars. Get Older is the purest power pop, typical Sweet, and bounces along with such energy that you might not notice the sadness, not at first. Listen, though, to the poignant counterpoint of the repeated high-pitched piano chord being struck in the background (almost like the flutes in Penny Lane), and the words that accompany the descending melody. Written as if speaking to his younger self (that’s him in the headphones), this is the essence of everything you wish you knew when you were a kid, the advice you never got and wouldn’t have had the sense to follow if you had. Who cares if they don’t think you’re cool? Who cares if you don’t know what you want? One day, child, when you get older, you might wish you’d had the sense to be happy when you could have been, instead of worrying yourself sick about what all of those cool kids, every one of them peaking early and destined for a soul-destroying career in middle management, thought about your hair style and footwear.
You’ll get older, faster than you can imagine. For now, you’re too young to fret over their cliquish rules. This will pass. Resist.
No kid mired in adolescent angst and the agony of not fitting in could ever really adopt such an olympian perspective, of course. God knows I didn’t, and these days, so I gather, it’s even worse than it was when I went through it. It seems like they’re ahead of the game if they can tough it out without being taunted and bullied literally to death via social media. All those gawky, uncomfortable, anxious kids wondering where it is they’ll ever be able to go where they aren’t humiliated and embarrassed just to walk the halls. Kids, perhaps, just like the ten-year-old pictured on the album cover.
This one’s for them.