Nervous Young Man • Car Seat Headrest | Teen Ink

Nervous Young Man • Car Seat Headrest MAG

January 1, 2019
By thefitnessgrampacertest BRONZE, Oconomowoc, Wisconsin
thefitnessgrampacertest BRONZE, Oconomowoc, Wisconsin
4 articles 0 photos 0 comments

Favorite Quote:
I am a part of the part that at first was all, part of the darkness that gave birth to light, that supercilious light which now disputes with Mother Night her ancient rank and space, and yet can not succeed; no matter how it struggles, it sticks to
matter and can't get free. Light flows from substance, makes it beautiful; solids can check its path, so I hope it won't be long till light and the world's stuff are destroyed together. (Mother Night by Kurt Vonnegut)


“Nervous Young Man” by Car Seat Headrest is an album full of emotion. Will Toledo’s sonorous, raspy voice adds to the angsty mood of his magnum opus. Each song has its own rising and falling action, and the album’s name perfectly describes its theme of anxiety. The two-hour album explores many aspects of Will’s life including what he has experienced since being a 16-year-old in his high school rock band, Nervous Young Men.

The album begins with “Boxing Day.” The crescendo in the intro makes the moment where Toledo’s voice comes in very powerful. The song is raw and straightforward. Toledo describes feeling “haunted” by his depression, and explains that it is a curse that causes him to do things he doesn’t want to do. The slow guitar riffs and quiet vocals evoke sadness, and demonstrates how Toledo’s depression has manifested into thoughts, feelings, and actions.

“Broken Birds (Rest in Pieces)” describes Will’s inevitable self destruction. Toledo describes the feeling of creating something brilliant only to have it destroyed. He also describes the feeling of trying to fix something and ending up causing himself agony. The beginning starts with a simple drum beat and bass guitar. Then Toledo’s tender vocals quietly arrive. Just before the first chorus all the tension that has built up fades into a moment of powerful silence.

In “I Can Play the Piano” Will tries to overcome his depression by reassuring himself that he is talented and not the worthless person that he always thinks he is. It features collisions of melodies and harmonies as well as a gradual build until the end of the song fades away. “Broken Birds (Rest in Pieces)” and “I Can Play the Piano” feature the Toledo’s mastery of composition through the witty lyrics and powerful crescendos and decrescendos.

“The Gun Song” is a 16-minute epic composition. It features a resonant, yet soft voice instead of the boisterous and rowdy singing on “Boxing Day.” “The Gun Song” starts out soft and gets quieter, more intimate, and instrumental as it continues. Toledo sings, “All the sentences I climbed halfway, saw the heights of what I wanted to say, and crawled from word to word, trying to get back down.” Toledo’s song-craft and deep reflection is showcased well in this song.

“Goodbye Love” is a short follow-up describing different times Toledo thought people were in love with him, only to realize it was merely lust. He even sings about a lesson he learned from his mother about love. This song appears to be an unedited demo. You can hear Will taking different runs of the song as he says, “Take one … Just kidding.”

“Dreams Fall Hard” is next and describes a dream that haunted Will about a toxic relationship. It reveals why the relationship was so wrong to him and why it would never work. It describes how he doesn’t want to lose the opportunity to fall in love due to fearing his parents’ reaction. He goes into detail about how he doesn’t want to regret never embracing his homosexuality in front of his parents and family.

After this comes “Afterglow,” which is one of the few songs with a style that does not relate to the rest of the album. Although the theme of anxiety is the same, the style of  “Afterglow,” “I Wanna Sweat,” and “Crows” are all heavily electronic; the album’s other 17 songs are more acoustic.

The slashing drum set. The raucous guitar. Toledo’s vocals muffled through an amp. All of these – plus the meaningful, unfiltered lyrics and powerful dynamics – create this masterpiece of an album. I highly recommend “Nervous Young Man.”



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