The time spent in and immediately after college is a short, but fertile period for emotional expression. Lily Mastrodimos, vocalist and guitarist of the punk band Jawbreaker Reunion, has released a compilation of songs under the name Long Neck that she “wrote during and about four years of college and three years of coming to terms with an abundance of things and figuring myself out.” Heights is a beautiful quilt work of lo-fi pop songs that provides an intimate glimpse into these self-reflecting endeavors.
The opener “Lullaby” is a rebellious dismissal of the daunting future (“we can talk about sex, we can drink our 40s alone / but we are still kids, fuck we are just kids”). Later, in the title track, this rejection becomes a despondent realization that “tomorrow’s comin up too soon / not long now til i’m 22.” “Cetacean Nation” reminisces about childhood and includes a Mr. Rogers soundbite that is as soothingly nostalgic as it is eerily applicable to her current state of anxiety. As Mastrodimos frets about adult problems like “chipped teeth and minimum wages,” she remarks that she still feels “like a kid staying home from school.”
Heartbreak is a recurring theme on this album, and Mastrodimos inspects the many ways we may grieve and try (despite failing to) move on. She gives a self-deprecating promise to somebody dear: “i know you don’t miss me as much as i thought, but it’s ok, it’s getting better” in “Ludlow.” Her assurance is hardly convincing, but perhaps this transparent way of pretending is the most honest portrayal she can give us.