Bay Area singer/songwriter Mxmtoon shares the trials and tribulations of adolescence in 2019 on "Prom Dress"!

Gen Z’s are old souls. Maybe it's the by-product of growing up surrounded by every conceivable culture, absorbing all of the greatest art, music, and film from every corner of the Earth and every possible genre. In the '80s and '90s, even the adults portraying teenagers, like in The Breakfast Club, seem impossibly cloistered, unbelievably naive and innocent. They spent their time worrying about clothes, boys/girls, pop songs. Today's youth, on the other hand, have grown up worrying about climate change, rampant inequality, and daily tragedies.

It ages a person, gives weight to their soul. The bright side of this is we're seeing a renaissance of unbelievably precocious, talented teens sharing their adolescent experience with maturity and musical talent of people 3 times their age.

Mxmtoon is the project of Maia, an 18-year old singer/songwriter who came to prominence on YouTube. Starting back in 2013, when she would've been just 13 years old, Maia's channel has grown to over 200,000 followers. She's learned a lot in those 6 years and deserves every one of those followers, with her jazz-inflected ukulele ballads.

"Prom Dress" finds Maia singing about the anxiety and alienation of late adolescence, using the imagery of someone crying in their prom dress as a poignant illustration of what today's teenagers are up to. For those of us who remember our senior year, this will not come as a great shock. It's not all darkness and heaviness, however - when there's life, there's hope. When one's 18 years old, there's a lot of life ahead.



The music serves as an optimistic silver lining to Mxmtoon's heartbreaking lyrics. The ukulele lends itself to a light, jazzy bounce, bringing to mind 1920s Jazz Age parties. We're about to enter a new '20s. Perhaps we'll enter a new gilded age, incorporating the complex harmonies of jazz with the rawness and immediacy of folk. That's enough to keep us going, get us up off the floor, wipe the mascara away, and make something of ourselves. We Are: The Guard are so, so excited to hear what Mxmtoon get up to next, as they continue to grow and mature.


J. Simpson occupies the intersection between criticism, creativity, and academia. Based out of Portland, Or., he is the author of Forestpunk, an online journal/brand studying the traces of horror, supernatural, and the occult through music, fashion and culture. He plays in the dreamfolk band Meta-Pinnacle with his partner Lily H. Valentine, with whom he also co-founded Bitstar Productions, a visual arts collective focused on elevating Pop Culture to High Art.