Mxmtoon’s ‘dawn’ is simplistic yet poignant capture of teenage life

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As its maroon and gold celestial album cover plainly suggests, mxmtoon’s latest EP dawn is an ethereal reflection on teenage life over seven danceable songs. Hailing from the Bay Area, mxmtoon has quickly risen to fame since 2018, amassing a dedicated audience of fans at just 19-years-old after the triumphant release of her first EP plum blossom and her first full album the masquerade. While best known for her song, “prom dress,” which went viral on Tik Tok last spring due to its resonating lyrics, her latest EP proves her to be more than just a one-hit wonder. Dawn elegantly captures the complexities of young adult life with catchy, danceable beats, adding even more reflective teen anthems to mxmtoon’s existing successful discography. 

Her lyrics remain simple, yet moving, consistently displaying a youthful lens and cementing a signature sound that fits the trends of many of today’s up-and-coming teen artists. As a whole, dawn sounds as if it were the soundtrack of a coming-of-age movie in the best way possible, successfully capturing the wistful yearning and frustrations of teenage life. 

The EP’s opening single, “fever dream,” first released in January of this year, is a perfect representation of this, with repeated lyrics such as, “I want something more than/ More than restless mornings” and “Take your time enjoy it/ Every fleeting moment.” While incredibly simplistic, these lyrics resonate deeply with the impermanence of one’s teenage years — wishing that things could stay the same, but being bored with the qualms of everyday routine.

In this case, mxmtoon’s simplistic wordplay should not be seen as a drawback, but a vehicle to make her music more accessible to teen audiences. The song’s message remains especially important in the days of the coronavirus pandemic, as teens across the nation look back at their old, seemingly mundane, routines, wishing that they could return to them with no relief in sight. 

Rather than deviating from mxmtoon’s existing discography, dawn builds on her patented playful sound, complete with ukulele strums and enchanting vocals. In this EP in particular, mxmtoon’s passion for songwriting clearly shines forth; dawn seems to exist as a labor of love, rather than a solely gratuitous venture, a difference that makes the album even more pleasurable of a listen. 

This is especially evident in the song “no faker,” a particularly enjoyable track in which mxmtoon begins the song with a delightful giggle. The lyrics echo this joy beautifully, as she sings, “No, I ain’t got time, no time for complicators/ Say what you want, I’ll get there now or later/ Be who I am ’cause I am no, no faker.” Mxmtoon also gleefully repeats a chorus of “do’s,” strumming to her ukelele, adding to the upbeat and playful vibe of the song. The song further pushes the universality of the teenage experience on listeners, as mxmtoon expresses that she is content with herself, yet feels forced by the world to be constantly doing more — a statement many teenagers would undoubtedly echo. By disregarding the notion of performing solely for others at the end of the song, she provides an important statement for teens jostled by society’s competitive nature, making “no faker” a danceable lesson for younger teens. 

All seven songs on the EP are snappy yet poignant, and not one is unenjoyable. Still, the tracks on dawn seem to be less memorable than some of her earlier singles. Additionally, while mxmtoon has undoubtedly created a patented signature sound, the EP tends to blend together, each song catchy and yet not entirely distinguishable from the others. 

Nevertheless, the EP is one that wholeheartedly deserves a listen, as neither of these facets detract significantly from its overall quality. Dawn deeply resonates with teen audiences because of mxmtoon’s playful melodies and youthful lyrical messages, making it an essential listen for any teen, and cementing mxmtoon’s status as a musical voice for the younger generation. 

Contact Caitlin Keller at [email protected].