18-year-old rising artist, glaive, continues his string of folk pop releases with his newest single, “as if.” The song is a catchy, gritty recounting of the teenage experience, which is often an overdone concept, but glaive executed it amazingly. As the first single of his debut album i care so much that i don’t care at all, “as if” portrays a strong, stable message to listeners: this is the same artist that gave us our favorite hyperpop hits like “astrid” and “1984,” while also having the second verse showcase a completely new artist and person at the very same moment.
The song “as if” ponders the harsh reality of growing up and growing out. It’s easy to get caught up in stagnancy when you’re young, and this much I can say from experience. Comfort is king, even when comfort is wrong. Pushing yourself to embrace the dynamic process of restructuring your life is incredibly uncomfortable, and as a young artist, that process seems to be expedited exponentially. While it’s hard for my mind to compute the idea of sharing a similar level of independence as young stars, I can understand the difficulty of newfound freedom with a lack of structure that a more “typical” life route may provide (college, technical school, apprenticeships).
The song opens up with a piece of iconic dialogue from Timothee Chalamet’s 2016 performance of The Prodigal Son at Manhattan Theatre Club. Lamenting over his youngness in a thick New York accent, this snippet begs the question, do young people have to earn the automatic respect that adults expect to receive? Or does our rebellious generation find this social dynamic, amongst others, a more complicated situation?
Detailing a jarring look inward, glaive openly discusses a handful of negative features along with his sexuality. Just a few days prior, glaive made an effort to talk to fans on Instagram Live where he discussed his bisexuality preceding the song release. Before this, he has mentioned his sexuality on his Twitter and at shows as well. The constant bravery needed to wear his heart on his sleeve at such a young age is not to be taken lightly, as I remember being the only out 14-year-old in high school, and how hard it was. I can assume his experience is uniquely amplified in a way many can’t relate to. Still, I find it admirable to preface the release of “as if” with this information, as right in the beginning of the song, it talks about friends being so “progressive” they use slurs against you. Another biting piece of lyricism that shows the teetering balance of social awareness and success, along with the isolation and loneliness of being a teen.
This song brings me back to my most vulnerable moments as a growing young person. I graduated high school out of my 2008 Hyundai Sonata with my parents, while staring at a fancy diesel truck full of balloons and cardboard cutouts of my peers’ faces. My last days of high school were spent joking about the flu going around, and later I realized that this huge piece of my life had already passed while I was on spring break. This led to me being a freshman in college struggling to find the motivation to go outside, make friends or generally find joy in my surroundings.
Change is always a signal of growth. It’s hard to acknowledge that some of the most painful moments we experience are only a byproduct of the challenging journeys we face in life, and are a vehicle toward happiness, success, money or whatever you may have your sights set upon. glaive, however, brings a cheeky, sharp perspective by comparing two experiences in life: wanting so badly for a beautiful specific moment or version of yourself to live forever, while simultaneously wrangling with the need to change yourself, your life and the world.
I’ve found, from my own experiences, that people who never change are the type of people I never want to be akin to. At the same time, I’ve always struggled with knowing who I am if I’m always changing. As I’ve gotten older, I work to embrace the idea that change is just another important piece of myself, just like my love for music or my desire to travel. Growth and change is beautiful when you see it in other places, like a butterfly going through a metamorphosis or the seasons that bring blooms of flowers or colorful leaves. There should be no reason that your change is any less beautiful than that.
“as if” is a gorgeous, authentic recounting of the one experience we all share: growing up. It’s an easy time to push out of your mind, but impossible to escape in the moment. Many of us are lucky to have the chance to grow our interests, talents, passions and relationships, but choose not to. This choice is similar to the way fans and new listeners alike can digest this enigmatic track; old fans may groan over a new style of music while ignoring the obvious lyrical themes, while others may assume ignorance by only focusing on the catchy tune and chorus without listening to the sneaky juxtaposed content of the verses.
Opening yourself up to honest feedback from the entire world is a scary byproduct most artists have to deal with. glaive does a great job at being honest and raw, while still delivering both a catchy and depth-filled track. An entire album filled with hits like this only foreshadows success for this rising star, and I can’t wait to keep listening.
If you liked this track, you may like the novel “The Valley and the Flood” by Rebecca Mahoney, which follows similar acoustic wayfinding in the midst of growth.