This isolation-borne track, which Anne-Marie has described as “capturing a moment” rather than adhering to a specific genre or style, created a heady feeling in my chest as I first listened. Doja Cat being featured on the track brought Bad Bitch imagery to mind. However, this optimistic and saccharine sweet track- more similar to the nostalgic sound of Anne-Marie’s ‘2002’- is in keeping with how Doja’s sound is constantly evolving.
Both singers’ vocals are beautiful and feel so complimentary that if you heard this in a distant future where COVID-19 is a mere blip in memory, you would assume they were side-by-side recording this. The ‘Say So’ singer surprised me how genuinely moving her voice is, as she croons “Heatless, hopeful, stupid, phoney” with a tenderness that made even my stiff upper lip wobble.
This upbeat bop feels like it’s sprung directly from the apex of a coming of age movie. The hopeful tune which reminds us that not having a long-term plan and being wrapped up in-the-now is a part of being young. The “pinky promise” we all make that things will stay the same, despite being aware that change is inevitable, captures youth in a single phrase.
I am a person who consistently analyses if they are being productive enough while also ensuring that I enjoy what I am assured is “the best times of my life”. Having this mindset made Anne-Marie’s lyrics and track felt like an uplifting respite.
— ANNE-MARIE (@AnneMarie) July 24, 2020
“We’re all a mess, but I guess/This is what it feels like to be young”.
Feeling like “a mess” is something most people of my generation can identify with. We are facing conditions our parents never could have imagined at our age and we often feel that we underperform compared to older generations, making us feel left behind and like a “mess”. While many of us use music as escapism from these fears, this palatable way of expressing this “dull the pain” dichotomy of escapist pursuits, versus facing reality, is what is so beautiful about this inherently positive track.
Anne-Marie who co-wrote ‘To Be Young’ includes one of the catchiest and most succinct and meaningful choruses I have heard in a while. The assertion “Take a punch, get back up/ Act a fool, give a f**k” reminds the listener to be resilient in their convictions and to care and be a “fool” for what they believe in. To be frank, this is more beautiful than I expected from a cheesy pop hit and is what makes it a track I will now hoard in my nostalgic guilty pleasure treasure trove.
Listen to ‘To Be Young’ now on all good streaming platforms