Nonlocal Pick: Colleen Green's 'Broad City'-like rock 'n' roll

City Paper

Some albums are driving records which seem to meld naturally with the rhythm of a car on the road. Colleen Green’s new album, “I Want to Grow Up” (Hardly Art), is not one of those records. I’d loved her previous effort “Sock it to Me,” and when the new one came, I was about to go on a road trip (which freed me from my self-inflicted imperative to only listen to music made in Baltimore while in Baltimore) and anxiously slipped the disc into the Zipcar CD player. Something about the lo-fi sonic levels of the album caused it to blur almost entirely into the hum of the road, eliminating all dynamics. The songs sounded flat, as if they were all recorded on a tinny little Casio or something. I was hugely disappointed. Then I remembered the great Feelies record “The Good Earth,” which was likewise flattened and made inaudible by the hum of the road, and I broke my rule and listened to “I Want to Grow Up” on headphones when I got home.

I was just as charmed by it as I was by its predecessor, but, as it happens, the times have caught up with Green’s understated, lo-fi confessional stoner vibe. The album is almost like a rock ’n’ roll equivalent of Television’s “Broad City,” with Green’s lyrics placing her at the confusing crux of adulthood, a place from which a number of  smart young women artists are making some of today’s best art. “Because I’m sick of always being bored/ I think I need a schedule/ and I’m so sick of being self-absorbed/ trying to be more thoughtful/ sick of being dumb/ sick of being dumb,” she sings on the title track.

Again on ‘Things That Are Bad for Me (Part 1)’ she sings about it being time to take responsibility and “stop doing things that are bad for me.” But then as the next track, ‘Things That Are Bad for Me (Part II),’ opens, in an echoey moment of Sabbath-y sludge, her voice echoes over the chugging rhythm as she switches course. “I wanna do drugs right now,” she sings. “I wanna get fucked up I don’t care how/ I want to feel high right now/ Need to feel something or else I might freak out.” The song ends with a screaming heavy-metal-esque solo—but it isn’t quite metal, more metal in quotes, the music of a stoned, self-aware person who wants to rock, but can’t quite do it without quotes.  But unlike all of the ironic hipster bullshit quotes around various genres, Green’s irony is vulnerable rather than protective. It makes a beautiful mix, as long as you don’t listen to it on the road. 9 p.m. Metro Gallery, 1700 N. Charles St.,, (410) 244-0899, $8-10.

Copyright © 2019, Baltimore City Paper, a Baltimore Sun Media Group publication | Privacy Policy