Two days in a row! I honestly can’t remember the last time I was this productive or capable.
I’ve been thinking a lot about the idea of”growing up” lately. For many, it’s a cynical rejection of our personal passions, infatuations, hobbies and identities for the eventual embracing of ‘adult responsibility.’ For others, it can be the distillation of these things into something we can use to interact with the wider world. Almost like constructing a plaster cast of ones own face to then interact with society. The single inevitability is that we outgrow the state of adolescence in which our identity is our primary priority. Whereas the child wonders “who am I?” the adult questions “what the fuck am I doing?”
The narrator in Flora Cash’s single 18 Dollars is wondering something similar but through the air of perfect hindsight. “What the fuck were we doing?” Although some of us look on heartbreak with a nostalgic kindness, so often we chastise ourselves and are subsequently embarrassed by our naivety. Flora Cash excellently capture the moment of recollection through the opening line “I can still remember just the way you tasted // pack of cigarettes in a basement.” Taking the narrative back to a period of instant recollection, swooning arpeggio-ed guitars drop the listener delicately into the misery that is our formative memories. For all the youth in the world can’t mitigate the utter misery that early heartbreak can render when all you are is all you identify with.
Amongst laughing at ones own history “I can still get high just thinking about us wasted // 18 dollars for a case kid // It’s all we had… it’s all we knew” a listener becomes part of a world in which youthful heartbreak is ancient, immature and evidently still incredibly poignant. Because the last time you truly identified solely with your identity is when someone can really hurt it the most. Lines sung in a suggestive scoff are offset by highly polished crescendos of harmonies that slice through themselves with heavy piano drops, encapsulating defining formative moments.
Shout out to the entirety of the Hype Machine’s contributors for getting to this one before me.