“The space is flush with bold, but earthy materials,” GSBS said in its entry, “retro kitsch style, op-art patterns, and technicolor schemes contrasting clean, fresh lines.”
So many artists, so little time. Each week we review a handful of new albums (of all genres), round up even more new music that we’d call “indie,” and talk about what metal is coming out. We post music news, track premieres, and more all day. In these concertless times, that includes daily livestreams and live concert videos we love. We publish a monthly playlist of some of our favorite tracks. Here’s a daily roundup with a bunch of interesting, newly released songs in one place.
ARIANA GRANDE – “POSITIONS”
Ariana Grande is maybe probably releasing a new album next week (10/30), and today she put out lead single “Positions.” It was co-produced by London on da Track and it comes with a hook that’s damn near impossible to deny. In the Dave Meyers-directed video, Ariana is the President of the United States.
CHRIS STAPLETON – “ARKANSAS”
Chris Stapleton has released a new single off his anticipated new album Starting Over, and this one finds him in Bob Seger-y hard rock territory.
SAWEETIE – “BACK TO THE STREETS” (ft. JHENE AIKO)
Cali rapper/singer Saweetie is gearing up for her debut album Pretty B*tch Music, and she just dropped this lightly bouncy new song, co-produced by Timbaland and featuring Jhene Aiko.
STRETCH AND BOBBITO – FREESTYLE EP1
To celebrate the 30th anniversary of The Stretch Armstrong and Bobbito Show, Stretch Armstrong and Bobbito Garcia have released the first in a series of three EPs featuring new remixes of classic freestyles from the show by Biggie, Jay-Z, Big L, Method Man, and Ghostface Killah.
BFB DA PACKMAN – “HONEY PACK”
One listen to Houston-via-Michigan rapper Bfb Da Packman’s bonkers voice and you’ll see why he continues to rapidly rise. This new song is no exception.
SPINE – “FANTASY”
Midwest hardcore maniacs Spine will follow 2018’s Faith with their third album, L.O.V., on December 18 via Bridge 9. First single “Fantasy” is a 49-second scorcher and it’s the kinda shit that’ll make you feel like you just put your brain in a blender.
RETALIATE – “DISGRACE”
Oxnard hardcore band Retaliate will release their new album IV on December 4 via Indecision Records, featuring guest vocal appearances by Dave Peters (Throwdown), Anthony Herrera (Take Offense) and Dan Weinraub (Downpresser). “Sonically it’s a mash up of post-One Voice NYHC and Cleveland hardcore, I guess,” frontman Zack Nelson (who used to play guitar in In Control and hosts the 185 Miles South podcast) told No Echo. “The guys make fun of me because before every record we do, I send through the first In Cold Blood LP and say, ‘I want to sound like this.’ So whatever that sounds like, that’s what we’re going for but not achieving because no one can. Blaze set the bar too high.”
BEVERLY KILLS – “TROPHY HUNT”
Swedish band Beverly Kills released their debut EP, Elegance in a State of Crisis, back in April, and now they’ve shared their first single since, “Trophy Hunt,” another taste of their indie pop meets post-punk sound.
HATEBREED – “INSTINCTIVE (SLAUGHTERLUST)”
Hatebreed return to their hardcore roots on the fast-paced new song “Instinctive (Slaughterlust)” off their upcoming eighth album Weight Of The False Self (due November 27 via Nuclear Blast).
JOEVILLE – “SEXY” (REMIX FT. FLO MILLI)
LA-via-Fort Lauderdale rapper Joeville taps breakout star Flo Milli for a new remix of his song “Sexy,” and she breathes fiery new life into the song.
FUCK THE FACTS – “AILLEURS”
Canadian grinders Fuck The Facts have released another scorcher off their first album in five years, and you can read more about it — alongside an interview with the band — at Invisible Oranges.
DURAND JONES & THE INDICATIONS – “POWER TO THE PEOPLE”
“Now is a crucial time for people to participate in the democratic process, and America is currently facing a record shortage of poll workers this year due to COVID-19,” say Durand Jones & The Indications of thier new protest single. “Our democracy depends on people like you to make sure we have a safe, fair, efficient election for all. If you’d like to get involved, head to https://www.powerthepolls.org to learn more about how you can #PowerThePolls in your community!”
GRANDADDY – “UNDERNEATH THE WEEPING WILLOW (PIANO VERSION)”
Grandaddy are releasing a 20th anniversary edition box set of The Software Slump next month and part of it is a new version main man Jason Lytle recorded on a wooden piano. “Underneath The Weeping Willow” sounds especially lovely in this form.
NADA SURF – “STORIES GOING ‘ROUND” & “JUST WAIT” VIDEO
Nada Surf released a deluxe digital edition of this year’s Never Not TOgether which featueres three brand-new songs, including this one. They’ve also made a video for “Just Wait” which was directed by Mark Pellington who made Pearl Jam’s “Jeremy” video. It’s more of a short film than a video, with spoken word sections interspersed throughout and lots of gorgeous imagery.
LISS – “LEAVE ME ON THE FLOOR”
Danish band Liss make full-band disco and have just shared this new single that’s an ode to the dancefloor. “I miss dancing with people, the contact and communication that arises, the constant back and forth,” says the band’s Søren Holm. “I was thinking about how you can have your first meeting on a dancefloor but also your last goodbye. That’s the kind of dialogue we’re trying to put into our songs.”
LOUIS PHILIPPE & THE NIGHT MAIL – “FALL IN A DAYDREAM”
Veteran French singer-songwriter (and indiepop cult legend) Louis Philippe will release Thunderclouds, his new album with The Night Mail, on December 11 via Tapete. New single “Fall in a Daydream” is a typically sweeping pop song for Philippe but the subject matter is very serious — the 2017 Grenfell Tower disaster. Says The Night Mail’s Robert Rotifer, “When Louis Philippe first played this to me I was deceived by the catchy sweetness of the tune. It was only in the studio, when he did the vocals, that the dark implications of the song’s lyrics started to dawn on me. Let’s not beat around the bush, the 2017 Grenfell Tower disaster, in which at least 70 Londoners died, is testament to the murderous inequality within this still beautiful, amazing city. It felt almost unbearable travelling through West London around that time, the charred remains of the tower shockingly visible from the raised section of the Underground line, while jaded fellow passengers never even paused in their conversation. With hindsight, this song is my soundtrack to that experience. I just love how Philippe’s view focuses not on the calamity itself, but on those who casually looked away.”
THE MARIAS – “BOP IT UP!”
“‘bop it up!’ is a feeling,” says María Zardoya of The Maria’s new single. “it’s a feeling of “fuck it.” while we were recording, it just came out of me as I was going through the process of questioning my decisions, my life, my world. “bop it up!” is me trying not to care and to just overcome my insecurities. the red clones in the animation represent my deepest insecurities, the voices in my head. the water represents my emotional insecurities. the snakes represent my reactive insecurities. they all morph together sometimes, transforming into the other before my very eyes.”
NAPPY NINA – “WEIGHT”
Oakland MC Nappy Nina is the latest to release a single via Mexican Summer’s ‘Looking Glass’ series. Based around a stately jazz piano sample, “Weight” is “about being confident in uncertainty,” says Nina. “working on this track was the first time I was in a studio with other musicians in months. It was inspiring to see some of my favorite folks feel free in the space and for them to create things we could pick apart and put back together again to build this song.”
LOVE TRACTOR – “60 DEGREES & SUNNY”
Athens, GA legends Love Tractor have a new 7″ out for this weekend’s Record Store Day, produced by REM’s Bill Berry and Sugar’s David Barbe. “60 Degrees & Sunny” is an instrumental in the distinctive Love Tractor style, jangly and angular all at the same time.
LARS FINBERG (THE INTELLIGENCE) – “SATANIC EXIT”
The Intelligence returned last year with Un-Psychedelic in Peavey City, and now the group’s fearless leader, Lars Finberg, will soon be back with his second solo album, titled Tinnitus Tonight. Lars veers into Tubeway Army territory on this one.
THE WONDER YEARS – “BRAKELESS”
In honor of the 10th anniversaries of The Upsides and Suburbia, I’ve Given You All And Now I’m Nothing, The Wonder Years have revisited the fast-paced pop punk style of those albums (and teamed back up with producer Steve Evetts) for the new song “Brakeless.” The Wonder Years don’t really make this kind of music anymore, but as “Brakeless” proves, they’re still masters of it. Read more about it here.
MILLINGTON – BRASS EMO, VOL. 1 (ft. CALL ME MALCOLM, HALF PAST TWO, more)
Speaking of The Wonder Years, Albany ska-pop-punk band Millington released a new guest-filled covers EP, including a rendition of Trash Boat’s “Strangers” (which features The Wonder Years’ Dan Campbell). Millington’s version features UK ska-punks Call Me Malcolm. They also do Less Than Jake’s “Look What Happened” with Half Past Two, Dashboard Confessional’s “Vindicated,” My Chemical Romance’s “The Ghost of You” with Emily Mitchell, and more.
CHELSEA WOLFE – “IN HEAVEN” (ERASERHEAD COVER)
Chelsea Wolfe is perfect for this oft-covered David Lynch/Peter Ivers classic. Read more here.
MINDFORCE – “REIGN OF TERROR”
New York metallic hardcore crew Mindforce are back with a furious new song and you can read more about it here.
WE ARE THE UNION – “YOU’RE DEAD” / “VAMPIRE SKA”
Detroit ska-punks We Are The Union are getting into the spooky season spirit with a two-song covers medley that includes a revved-up, punky rendition of Norma Tanega’s 1960s song “You’re Dead” (which got a recent boost in popularity when it was used as the theme song for What We Do in the Shadows), and it segues seamlessly into a faithful take on Horny Toad’s 1996 ska-punk song “Vampire Ska.” The Chris Graue-directed video also pays homage to What We Do in the Shadows. Read more about it here.
BAD OPERATION – “BAGEL ROOKS”
Bad Operation (the new band with members of Fatter Than Albert, PEARS, Dominic Minix, and more) have released the second single off their upcoming self-titled debut album (due 12/18 via Bad Time/Community), and you can read more about it here.
LUCERO – “OUTRUN THE MOON”
Country-punk vets Lucero have announced their tenth album, When You Found Me, and you can read more about lead single “Outrun the Moon” here.
PINKSHIFT – “TORO” / “RAINWALK”
Baltimore punks Pinkshift are quickly becoming one of the most vital new punk bands around, and their two new songs are their best yet. Read our new Q&A with the band here.
SIGUR ROS – “DVERGMAL”
Sigur Ros have announced a new orchestral album and released this single, and you can read more about it here.
Looking for even more new songs? Browse the ‘New Songs’ archive.
MILAN — Fashion continues to be in Frida Giannini’s heart, but Gucci’s former creative director is today focused on channeling her energies into projects that are dear to her. And from her observation point, she is candidly giving a shoutout to her friend Maria Grazia Chiuri, while she hopes pure luxury will return and edge out all streetwear and untrained designers.
Giannini, who is a member of the board of Save the Children and has for years supported UNICEF, receiving in 2011 the UNICEF Women of Compassion award, is the godmother of a photo exhibition organized by association Angelo Azzurro that is part of the A-HEAD project, opening on Oct. 23 in Rome and running until Nov. 2. Called “Circuiti,” the exhibit displays photos by Luca Centola.
While at the creative helm of Gucci, which she exited in January 2015, the Roman designer made social issues a focus both for the brand and for herself. In particular, in 2013 together with Beyoncé Knowles and Salma Hayek Pinault, she and Gucci launched Chime for Change, created with the goal of supporting women’s and girls’ education, health services and justice.
In 2018, the designer made a brief comeback to fashion for a humanitarian project in partnership with retailer OVS, for which she created a Christmas capsule collection of sweaters benefiting the nonprofit association Save the Children.
While Italy is seeing a new wave of COVID-19 infections, Giannini said organizers of the photo exhibition were doing everything in their power to make sure it would take place, with all the due precautions, as it is a fundraiser.
Through A-HEAD, and several initiatives dedicated to contemporary art, Angelo Azzurro aims to help people understand mental health through the arts.
“Mental health is an issue that is often ignored, it’s sneaky and many times it’s invisible, it does not leave visible scars, but they are there,” said Giannini from her home in Rome. “This is a new project for me, after years devoted to shining the light on war children and hunger. Sometimes families do not understand what mental health is or they are ashamed to tackle the problem.” Victims can be children, bullied for example; adolescents affected by eating disorders, or adults. The pandemic has affected people tremendously, she continued. “With the lockdown, there’s been a huge surge of anxiety, depression, panic attacks. It’s a disturbing moment for everyone, even those that are solid.”
The intention of the exhibit is to reinforce the fight against the stigma often associated with mental health issues. “If someone has problems, they are either considered strange or crazy and they are not seen as patients, which leads to marginalization. These individuals have a hard time finding a job or to continue their studies, some don’t have the money or the ability to see a psychiatrist, and our goal is to be near them, they should not be left alone, ” Giannini continued. “They are helped to be integrated in society through the development of new creative skills,” she explained.
Creativity remains central in Giannini’s life, although she has been out of the fashion limelight since her exit from Gucci. She admitted she’s had “silent consultancies” with a few brands, and that she has been helping the team at Golden Goose, as reported. “I’ve been a customer and a fan of the brand early on and for years,” she said. “I have a beautiful friendly relationship with the team and I’ve been greeted there as a member of the Golden Goose family.”
Her own family has been through some changes, since Giannini is separating from her husband, Patrizio di Marco, a former Gucci chairman and chief executive officer and also a former chairman of Golden Goose, with whom she shares a daughter.
Asked if she is planning a comeback with a designer brand, Giannini admitted she does “not have anything on the table,” and expressed her doubts about the fashion scenario.
“I find there’s a lot of confusion and uncertainties, and lots of copycat designs. I see a lot of improvisation, designers that have no experience and brands that rely on the number of [social media] followers in their choice of creative heads,” she contended. “And so many designers are working far from the artisans, or for more than one brand, I don’t understand that.”
Giannini also expressed her frustration at the amount of streetwear in fashion. “Enough, let’s return to beautiful, luxurious products, materials and hides. I think after the pandemic people will want to return to dress well and lots of useless things will disappear. Shopping we all know is therapeutic, but you want to buy beautiful pieces, and not only because they are fashionable.”
She singled out the work of her friend Maria Grazia Chiuri, artistic director of women’s collections at Dior, however. “She is talented and she proves that you can design beautiful things that sell, not only key chains but also coats, ready-to-wear, bags that you see people actually wear. Dior is performing so well despite the difficulties, and I am very happy for her success. I still believe this industry is sexist, so I am very happy that a woman has the space to express herself,” Giannini said.
Utilising new social channels such as Tiktok and partnering with surprising ambassadors is key to bringing WW wider brand story around health and wellness to life to new audiences, its local marketing chief says.
The brand formerly known as Weight Watchers has confirmed a fresh partnership with Melbourne-based TikTok star, Rohit Roy, to be its latest WW ambassador as he kicks off the next stage of his personal wellness journey. Roy, 41, has built up a strong social following after documenting his 100-day abstinence from frizzy drinks. He’s now looking to lose 20kgs as well as embrace healthy habits long-term such as mindset, sleep, exercise and nutrition.
“Really the WW brand is still relatively new, so utilising new channels and surprising ambassadors helps to further establish the brand as WW, rather than Weight Watchers, to new audiences,” WW director of marketing and commercial A/NZ, Nicole McInnes, told CMO.
“This is key as WW is not only a leader in weight loss, but a health and wellness partner which focuses on helping people adopt healthy habits related to food, fitness, mindset and sleep. And as a technology experience company,we uniquely enable people to access tools, tips and support that can make a huge difference to their lives, all-in-one app.”
Roy will receive virtual WW coaching and use the highly-rated, award-winning WW app and SmartPoints system and ZeroPoint food program. He’ll then share his journey on his TikTok and Instagram accounts.
Roy attributed his ability to reach his goal of no fizzy drinks for 100 days largely to tracking his progress via social media. “This kept me accountable and gave me the encouragement of my community,” he said. “Now that I’ve completed that goal, it has empowered me to take the next step with my health, which I’ll be doing with the added support network of WW and the tools in the WW app.
“My long-term goal is to lose 20kgs, but I’m planning to do this by setting small, achievable goals along the way, which is what the myWW program is all about. I will start by aiming to lose 5kgs in 50 days and this realistic approach will help me create new long-lasting healthy habits that I will be able to maintain for life.”
According to recent WW research, 11.2 million Australians have made better health their number one priority to strive for in the leadup to the new year. Losing weight was at the top of the list (21 per cent), followed by increasing their fitness (18 per cent). Barriers preventing them achieving such goals include a lack of motivation (49 per cent), stress and anxiety (50 per cent) and not being able to exercise regularly or in their usual routing (39 per cent).
“Inspiring people to live healthier lives, especially right now when people’s routines have been so disrupted, is really important to us, and we’ve found real people’s stories are the best way to get others to focus on their health and wellbeing too,” McInnes continued.
“Rohit’s journey will be a key part of that. We are thrilled to be able to support him in reaching his goals with these tools, even while he is in lockdown, and believe his story will both inspire and resonate with others like him who are looking to improve their health in 2021.”
Social and the quest for reach
WW has used ambassadors and spokespeople as a key part of its marketing over the years and has hundreds of ambassadors around the world including celebrities and members. From the days of celebrities doing TVCs to custom print magazines, today’s efforts are increasingly focused on growing reach by tapping into the social influence of these ambassadors who have built followings as a result of their WW journeys online.
“Over the past few years, our focus has been on growing the size and diversity of this network to enable us to convey through their collective stories one of our most important messages: WW is a program for everyone,” McInnes said.
“Our decision to welcome TikTok star, Rohit Roy, as an ambassador is strongly aligned with that thinking in that he offers a new and unique perspective on how you can live the program. To add to that, his endearing and inspiring personality, commitment to developing healthy habits and appreciation of community support are also a perfect fit with our values.” From a channels and executive perspective, McInnes said WW has both an earned and paid media strategy and its first foray with TikTok will be on the earned side.
“But we are always assessing all channels and testing them to see whether they will work for us across paid. TikTok has a huge, diverse audience and that has got my attention, especially as a marketer always looking for ways to connect with people where they are,” she said.
As well as Roy’s posts in social media, WW will engage in PR as its explores his journey, which could in turn be showcased through other channels.
“You get the feeling with Rohit that the sky’s the limit, and we are ready to co-create with him as to the best ways to bring his story to life,” McInnes added.
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Something is happening online wherein it has become fashionable for objectively young people to say that they feel hideously, grotesquely old. The sentiment is everywhere: self-deprecating, semi-ironic bemoans of being an elderly hag surrounded by mere tots. On Twitter, 17-year-olds go viral for feeling ancient compared to the middle schoolers on their timelines. On Instagram, meme accounts share images of the Golden Girls captioned with “me watching TikTok.” On TikTok itself, college kids act as though they’re too washed to be on the app at all, while commenters praise Selena Gomez as the “queen of aging,” as if by 28 one should expect to be a rapidly shriveling crone (which, if you’ve ever read one of the dozens of BuzzFeed articles about the difference between being in your early 20s versus your late 20s, is in some way accurate).
There is now a kind of cottage industry for this precise emotion, made up of memes, listicles, and trend stories that are often in imagined response to missed milestones like making Forbes’s 30 Under 30 list or the presences of unfathomably young children. If deep-fried Minions memes are emblematic of boomer Facebook groups, the 20-something version is a tweet that says, “u know you’re past 25 when your ideal Friday night is a murder podcast and a face mask.” There are, by my count, atleast10storiesinmajornationalpublicationsabouthow TikTok makes people as young as 18 feel too old to be there.
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A post shared by By Sarah Merrill (@bigkidproblems) on Feb 5, 2020 at 2:45pm PST
“[Posts] about feeling old consistently do really well,” says Sarah Merrill, the creator of the popular meme account @BigKidProblems, who describes herself as “31 going on 85.” “I live on the internet and make memes for a living, but I cannot for the life of me figure out TikTok. I’m like, ‘This is where I become irrelevant.’”
As someone who covers the current “young person” app, I hear this a lot from people, regardless of age. They say they can’t get into TikTok because it makes them feel like an Old, that they’re too tired to learn the dance moves or understand the memes. No one should spend time on a platform they don’t care about, but to avoid something just because it triggers some horrible realization about your own mortality — despite often only being a few years removed from the age of most of its users — suggests that something is extremely wrong with the way we think about growing up.
This might sound counterintuitive if you’ve kept up with the news over the past decade. Adulthood, by most measures, is starting later for young people; millennials are delaying marriage (or not marrying at all) and delaying homeownership (or realizing they’ll never be able to buy a home anyway). Though the oldest millennials are in their late 30s, media still treats us as though we are permanently floundering 25-year-olds, and yet an element of this is our own doing: We are the inventors of ironic or infantilizing trends like “adulting” and “I’m baby,” the age group that’s still weirdly obsessed with having been deemed “gifted children” and its resultant effects on our mental health. Though the term “Gen Z” has largely replaced “millennial” as shorthand for the increasingly loud and frenzied discussions about youth in the media and online, in the popular imagination, both groups barely seem to count as grown-ups at all.
So why, then, do young people say they feel so old? There is a case to be made that everyone in their late teens and 20s — often a time of seismic life upheaval — experiences some degree of a rapidly fading youth. These years are often a second adolescence that’s arguably scarier than the first: For many, it’s the first time they’re without financial support, the first experience living without family, or their first time in the workforce. For others who’ve been working to support their families from a young age, they’re grieving a lost youth and an uncertain future.
There are pressures to have it “all figured out” within 10 years or risk fading into obscurity as you stare down the barrel of 30, the culturally agreed-upon moment where you’re supposed to suddenly have your life together, if for no other reason than because it is a nice round number.
24 year olds spiral out about being old more than 34 year olds
— Reed Brice (@thatdangdingus) September 16, 2020
But there is also a case to be made that the feeling of being so old, so fast, is particularly resonant right now. “I think previous generations have probably felt this but at a much smaller scale,” explains Emily Cogswell, a 24-year-old in retail management in Albany, New York. “They just had their social group to compare themselves to rather than literally every single person in the world.”
She’s referring, of course, to social media, where it is possible to measure oneself — quantitatively! — against virtually anyone else. “Women have this pressure to get everything figured out, get married, and have kids while we’re still hot,” she adds. “But we also have to reach the peak of our career by then. How does one person do that?”
I found Emily because she’d tweeted about the phenomenon I kept seeing everywhere. “U guys are really weird ab age,” she wrote. “Like as if aging is the worst thing that can happen to anyone and it happens as soon as they’re older than 25.”
There is self-deprecation at the root of age panic, a well-intentioned attempt at irony and relatability. But the more I hear people lament how ancient they feel in the presence of people younger than them, the more depressing it sounds. Devon Price, a social psychologist and professor at Loyola University of Chicago’s School of Continuing and Professional Studies, articulates this well: “We have such a strange relationship to age in our culture,” they explain. “We sexualize very young people and we teach people that youth is the time of your life, that it’s when you should be achieving the absolute most. So if you haven’t done that then there’s something wrong. It kills people with insecurity.”
This, Devon argues, is what feeds into the idea that younger people are an existential threat. (I am reminded of a certain scene from 30 Rock in which Tina Fey sees a group of teenagers nearby and mutters, “Oh, no: youths,” before running away.) On some level, this fear is warranted: The existence of young people tells us that we are not young, and to be not young in America is to be rendered largely invisible, desexualized, and economically worthless, either forced out of the workforce or required to be there longer than one should.
“That’s the thing that I hate about the generational wars. Zoomers and millennials have adopted this belief that older people are all bigoted, conservative, and privileged,” Devon says. “Really, we’re both screwed over by a lot of the same systemic forces. It’s a very easy way to divide people instead of us realizing that we’re all exploited workers and that we’re all overworked.”
Love… we millennials are like the Golden Girls on Tiktok pic.twitter.com/ZK49I53m6z
— Bobby Berk (@bobbyberk) January 10, 2020
That we feel pressured to be wunderkinds or risk eternal obscurity is itself a product of this broken system. “Our very competitive capitalist system says by this age, you’re supposed to achieve this particular thing,” Devon adds. “And increasingly, those benchmarks of success are not attainable to people. Having children at a certain age, being able to buy a house, being financially independent — those are the things that we taught would be satisfying and bring your life meaning, and now people can’t get those things on a very fundamental economic level. It makes people feel like failures. One way that they express that is, ‘Oh, my god, I’m so old, and I still haven’t done XYZ.’”
If millennials were screwed by the Great Recession, entering the workforce to a crappy job market and saddled with skyrocketing student loan debt, just to be kneecapped by the pandemic, it’s unlikely that Gen Z, the oldest of whom are in their early 20s, will fare much better. Perhaps it’s not surprising, then, why “feeling old” often sounds exactly like despair: It suggests that the fun part of life is over, yet the stable part of life, the one with a house and a family and a career, feels both out of reach and overdue.
This is a central idea of Anne Helen Petersen’s recent book, Can’t Even: How Millennials Became the Burnout Generation, which tracks how tax laws, the gig economy, and the Great Recession, among many other things, screwed over young people (and unlike the viral essay that preceded it, how they have also had devastating consequences for anyone alive right now no matter what year they were born).
“The internet isn’t the root cause of our burnout,” she writes in the opening chapter, “but its promise to ‘make our lives easier’ is a profoundly broken one, responsible for the illusion that ‘doing it all’ isn’t just possible, but mandatory. When we fail to do so, we don’t blame the broken tools. We blame ourselves.” This, she argues, gives iPhone-addicted millennials and zoomers vastly unrealistic expectations about what our lives should look like, and therefore outsize self-hatred for when we don’t meet those expectations by a certain age.
“24 year olds spiral out about being old more than 34 year olds,” reads a tweet from comedian and performance artist Reed Brice earlier this month. Reed is 33, which means he’s over the hump of early-20s age panic. “Turning 30 was the best thing that ever happened to a dork, because now the pressure is off for me to try to be cool,” he told me.
Culture moves faster than it ever has — there are more TV shows, more TikToks, more niche memes and internet drama than any one person could ever possibly keep up with (and even if they did, what kind of hellhole life would that be?). We forget how boring being a teenager is, how much time we had to fill up with invented narratives simply to entertain ourselves or distract from the crushing weight and powerlessness of being confined to your parents’ house. Of course teenagers are more familiar with newer songs or newer memes. What else are they going to do!
It’s also impossible to talk about the fear of aging without talking about the precise terror that it represents for women. Our worth is inseparable from our youth, so much so that embracing the effects of time is considered a radical act (see: grombre hair or the entirety of the skin care industry). Any attempt to describe exactly how much this fact is intrinsic to our selfhood will sound trite, but here is an example from my life:
When I was 19, I had never felt so old, and never more conscious of the fact that I was still so young. Living in New York City as a young woman will do that to you, but my clearest, and saddest, memory was at the bars I would frequent while underage, all too aware that the only power I had over the 20-something men — men I thought had glamorous jobs and lots of money but who were of course all perfectly average 23-year-olds in the East Village — was that it was sort of sexy that I was too young to be there. I may not have been the skinniest or the most beautiful girl at the bar, but I was always the youngest, and that felt like something. My age felt so cosmically significant that it instilled in me a deep fear of every birthday that followed, as though I was slowly being stripped of that one gasp of agency I cherished so much.
Like almost every other woman I know, I am still weird about age, and the fact that 30 is not so far away looms ever-present in the decisions I make and the culture I consume. Complaining about your age should be a boring and embarrassing thing to do, because everyone is rocketing toward our twilight years at the exact same speed. But it is still so, so much better than being 19, or 15, or 12. This, I think, is what we tend to forget when we openly envy teens: Being a teenager sucks.
“There’s so many great things about getting older,” Devon says. “People tend to become more satisfied with their lives and their relationships. Upsetting emotions tend to be less intense. You have more of a sense of perspective on negative things, because you’ve seen it before. We have fewer relationships, but we invest in those relationships more deeply.”
This is the trade-off we were supposed to make when we graduated from the chaos of teenagehood, that life would become more satisfying, that we would become wiser and more at peace. That people in their 20s still feel used and tossed out is not because they are suddenly being confronted with teenagers on TikTok, but because of our failure to support young people in their pursuit of a fulfilling life: to help them out of student debt, to provide affordable housing, to offer jobs with actual benefits. The sad part is not that we are old. It’s that we’re too old for this shit.
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