Cool Teen is the new project of Shay Collins ’18, Arts and Entertainment Editor emeritus and Pop Punk obsessor. According to Shay, the project “is the result of wanting to make music and perform and, for a long time, refusing to put anything out if it wasn’t exactly perfect. After awhile, I just decided to go for it.” That ethos bleeds through on his most recent (and as yet only) album: With Aliens, brimming with the type of plain-faced, nostalgic, punk-strong music that hurls his deepest-downs in an pure, exposed lump of plucked strings and plaintive vocals at his feet in front of him.
For his Sun Session, Shay decided to give us “16,” a song of “mostly half-remembered thoughts and feelings from when I was in high school and trying to figure myself out. I feel like high school was a time when I felt really nervous and anxious, and I wish I could go back in time and tell myself to calm down a little, that it would all work out in the end. I think that the central story of ’16.'”
In Shay’s session here, we have a chance to see this veracious transcription of anxiety and awkwardness mingling with those influences of his that hide behind With Aliens’ slightly bigger backbone: Kacey Musgraves’ rural honesty, pop-punk’s tenderer moments, and the simultaneous ear for melody and complexity of prog and metal’s more accessible outcroppings.
According to Shay, his line “Don’t worry / you’re almost home” references Liz Suburbia’s graphic novel Sacred Heart. “I think it captures what it means to be a teenager unlike any other book I’ve ever read. One of the first panels of Sacred Heart is misspelled graffiti that says ‘ALOMST HOME,’ and I think that phrase really underscores the whole book, and also another theme that appears a lot in my music: feeling nostalgic for and wanting to return to a hometown that you’re still uneasy with.”
Shay Collins ’18 (Vocal, Guitar)
Videographers: LeeAnn Marcello, Alyssa Drexler, and David Boak
Video Editor: LeeAnn Marcello
Audio Engineer: Maya Chang Matunis and TJ Hurd
In collaboration with Electric Buffalo Records and Fanclub Collective