Ethel Cain shakes a fist at the American Dream on “American Teenager”

“American Teenager” is taken from Ethel Cain‘s Preacher’s Daughter, out now.

“American Teenager” – a particular highlight from Ethel Cain‘s excellent debut album Preacher’s Daughter – finds the resident Alabamian shaking a fist at the picture-perfect American Dream that is always just out of reach. For a country with such deep rooted intolerance, the romanticised view of diners, coke floats and open highways to infinite possibilities is nothing more than a cruel reminder of what the youth of today will never have.

Cain, a writer of creativity far beyond her years, shows an intricate understanding of her subject matter, utilising the breadth of American musical tradition to lure us in. A spiral of shoegazing guitar lines opens up to dabble in heartland country rock, before smothering itself in a hazy blanket of synths for the chorus. It is a song of big moments that feel intensely personal.

On “American Teenager”, Cain acknowledges that life for many in America right now is tough, especially for those already on the fringes. Despite this the track has a reaffirming, defiant optimism. There is heartache and sadness, but there is also the acknowledgement of a new day to come. And as she sings “Crying in the bleachers and I said it was fun / I don’t need anything from anyone / It’s just not my year / But I’m all good out here”, it is easy to share in the belief that she will be OK, as well as those she is singing to.

Watch the accompanying visuals -courtesy of director Hayden Anhedönia– below, and stream the track via our Best Tracks of 2022 playlist.

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