Review: The Midwestern Charm, ‘Growing Pains’

Posted 3 years ago by Joel Funk

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Written By: Joel Funk Edited By: Caitlin Kohn

How many of you thought that you would ever hear me gushing over an album that could be classified as Americana Pop? I know that I couldn’t have seen it coming before I dove into The Midwestern Charm’s new album ‘Growing Pains’ and started to feel almost ashamed that I hadn’t given this style of music a chance before now. There is a bluesy quality to the music on ‘Growing Pains’ that works so well when paired with the storyteller-style lyrics, and the smooth, borderline emotionally detached vocal delivery that shape this record.

The first single released from ‘Growing Pains’ was ‘Can’t Stand It.’ Now, being 22, and having spent most of my musical life kind of meandering between genres until my taste developed, I have no problem telling you that my knowledge of the genre we’re talking about is very minimal. Listening to ‘Can’t Stand It’ feels very much like a time capsule moment for me. I can turn that song on and get a very vivid picture of being in the backseat of my parents God ugly brown minivan with the faux-wood stripe down the center of the door. This is a brand new track, but it feels like a 90’s pop rock song, and in my eyes, already has decades worth of memories attached to it.

This is an ultimate commonality that helps to make ‘Growing Pains’ feel like an album in full, and not just a culmination of songs. This is a coming of age record that feels more like a welcome home than it does anything else. You’re welcomed by this warm, summery feeling of familiarity. To most, the word “summery” usually elicits singalong ready choruses, but the haunting dreary sounds of the organ being played in the background of “Wallflower” and lyrics like “There’s no use to hanging on when you’ve got nothing left to hold/I feel more like a stranger each time that I come home”, feel like they were meant for long drives on summer nights. Summer and Americana feel like they were made for each other, and this record is all the evidence you’ll need to support that statement.

To further support the fact that ‘Growing Pains’ is a coming of age record, the lyrics in the song “Insignificant” could very easily fit into any number of my friends lives at the moment. A lot of them are quick on the road to becoming college graduates, and this mid-tempo track with lyrics like “In a couple of weeks, we’ll be graduating college/with our bachelors degrees that just emphasize nonsense” should feel right at home in their current mindset. I love that this song was ripped right from the head of just about every twenty-something and put out into the world. One of my personal favorite lines from the song is “In a couple of months will be living by our paychecks/working part time jobs/and drinking all of our assets.” The Midwestern Charm has a real knack for creating some incredibly vivid stories with their lyrics, and I think that’s what keeps bringing me back to this release.

The Midwestern Charm have made an album that feels at home in present day, but could have very easily been ripped out of the early-mid 90’s. This is an album that feels destined for late drives on summer nights with the people you love. ‘Growing Pains’ is riddled with songs that are just as musically tight as they are lyrically clever. It’s hard not to fall in love with The Midwestern Charm on first listen, and I can’t wait to hear more from this band. Good on you, Texas Is Funny. 4/5