by Lexi Anderson
An intimate portrait of struggle, heartbreak, and triumph, Adult Mom’s new project Driver chronicles the in-between moments of life, describing with brutal transparency the pitfalls and triumphs of being in love with another, and reconciling with oneself. From upbeat redemption ballads to slow, honest descriptions of anxious heartache, Driver is a complete anthology, a relatable, and at times uncomfortably truthful, collection that speaks to the human experience.
Beginning in their dorm room in Purchase, New York, Stevie Knipe has been creating under the name Adult Mom since 2012. Characterized by well-crafted, honest lyricism and masterful musical layering, Adult Mom has made a name for themself within the indie rock genre.
Ranging from confessional to exhilarating, Driver displays a full range of emotions. “Passenger” opens the album with slow acoustics and close harmonies, spinning a tale of time and healing. On par with the rest of the tracks, the lyrics are unflinchingly real. From flashbacks to a relationship (“You’re a lover, I am not / And that’s why I loved you / That’s why I loved you”) to raw self-reflection (“I was a passenger in your car / And now I’m ghost who won’t answer a call”), the exposition to Driver is a solid encapsulation of the album as a whole.
Driver is an emotional confrontation, addressing the minutiae of life superimposed over dreamy guitar and complex rhythms. From frustrations with capitalism in the upbeat pop tune “Breathing” (“I am isolating, I get my communication / From an overdue hospital bill / I can’t afford to pay so I hide it”) to the fluttering feelings of new crushes and nostalgia for those who got away in “Wisconsin,” Adult Mom’s Dolores O’Riordan-esque vocals create a feeling of peering into their life and finding similarities to one’s own.
Generally, Driver represents growth for Adult Mom. Their 2015 album Momentary Lapse of Happily holds a younger feeling, as if they’re broadcasting from their dorm room, teetering on the edge of finding their identity. Now in Driver, there is a sense of triumph running throughout the album, in “Adam,” where they come to terms with their sexuality – “I see the girl I want to kiss / But I’m not sure if she wants to kiss / But at least I can ask without feeling like shit,” – or in “Sober” – “Now I don’t even think of you / When I am sober.” There is a feeling of tired victory throughout Driver, a chronicle of fighting through young adulthood, and finding oneself on the other side.
Driver is a symbol of evolution for Adult Mom. It is a depiction of their growth from Momentary Lapse of Happily, both as a musician and as a person in the modern world. A mix of rock, indie, and pop, Driver has something for everybody. With infectious choruses and brutally honest lyricism, Adult Mom has once again proven themself as a creative and complex artist.