Album cover with a cat on it.

Local Review: Mariel Croft – Trying My Very Best

Local Music Reviews

Mariel Croft
Trying My Very Best
Street: 05.04
Mariel Croft = Mom Jeans + Clairo circa 2017

There is a finite amount of chances and fucks available, both in giving and receiving. The crux of adulthood is a constant push and pull between knowing better and acting accordingly. The destructive era of teen ignorance transitioning to the sudden structure of adulthood is enough to drive even the sanest of people to forget what they know. “Coming of age” is more than a movie genre, it’s a universal stage of life. It’s the decision to grow up. With candor and individuality, Mariel Croft brings ten tracks that Ladybird herself would approve of. So, what is there to do when the credits have finished rolling and the popcorn is all gone? When the audience has gone home and it turns out the protagonist’s best is not good enough? Try harder, then write and release an album about the effort. 

With furious guitar by Croft and thrashing drums by Grace Hoffman, Trying My Very Best opens with “Sixteen.” The sweet, simple age of naiveté is displayed with the nostalgic act of ripping instruments without hesitation. This is followed by “Flight to Vegas,” opening up the world of traveling with nothing more than a pair of headphones. The track takes off the ground like an airplane and raises the contrast between Las Vegas oozing the air of irresponsible chance and Salt Lake City encasing stability like a snow globe. Succeeding while rubbing the fatigue from its eyes, “Break” begs for what is often bypassed. Croft’s lyrics tell the perspective of the cracks that form under pressure and how even they long for the moment in which they can let go and shatter. The epistemology of stupidity describes the excess of reason. With matching thematic elements, the standout “Pretty Dumb” shouts about its own paradoxical logic. Accepting the lack of knowledge leads to learning, but in early adulthood, the lesson is often just about the deficit in question. Being trapped in a never-ending loop of overthinking keeps even the babies awake at night. “In My Head” is the cry for a release from the confines of the bones that make up our skulls. 

Maintaining ingenuity while covering other artists’ work is a challenge that Croft does not shy away from. Her version of “These Boots Were Made for Walking” brings forth the exact righteous anger Nancy Sinatra sings of in the original with a rockabilly-esque fashion. The seventh song, “Sharks,” puts up the glass between the observer and the swimmer. Drowning in wittiness, the lyricism uses the example of a sharp-toothed predator to describe the risk of comparison. Sometimes all there is left to do is wail, “Oh No” does the work for the audience by reaching incredibly high pitches with the vocals. The sinking feeling of everything going wrong comes through the whole production. Kicking with increasing frustration, “Best Accessory” tells the tale of over-sexualization with substantial angst. The cohesion between the band members thrives while playing about how beauty can box an individual into their own appearance. Capping off the musical performance with tender fingerpicking, “Little Blue House” is the ideal finale to a piece about fearing the big, bad world. A home can be safe and sound, but it takes more than walls and a roof to provide as such. To age is to understand the work required to maintain peaceful habitation. 

As I’m celebrating my 20th birthday this spring,  this project was the cake that I not only got to have but eat, too. Marie Antoinette stands as a paragon in the extravagance of treating oneself. Yet her infamous quote, “Let them eat cake” was a fallacy inspired by a rumor and hardly reflected her political mentality accurately. So when I’m blowing out the candles, the only wish I’ll be making is to learn from the aristocrat and age. Although it always feels like time is running dry and intellect is as remarkably rare as water on Mars, commiserating in the dread of getting older and not knowing is natural. Instinctively we know the rhythm of living can take over the experience entirely, pausing to contemplate is no easy task. Just ask Ferris Bueller. Trying My Very Best creates room for anyone to stop, acknowledge, and work with their shortcomings. Or at least think really hard about them. –Marzia Thomas

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