Christina Munsey: for me, or for you
[Self-released; March 6]
The 21st century has dialed up the factory-setting discomfort of being a teenage girl. Gone are the days of waiting by the phone for your crush to call, or even of worrying about who makes your Top 8.
In 2020, teenage girls are expected to market their beauty and angst to the world. Your feelings should be condensed into a punchy tweet, a “Close Friends” Instagram story, or a 30-second TikTok. Your identity is not validated unless it’s part of building your outward image. Even at 22, I see and feel pressure from these expectations.
With the transition to growing up online, the music styles that define teenage angst have gone digital, too. Instead of the fast-paced energy of Blink-182 or the loud guitar riffs of Nirvana, angsty music has turned to heavy synths paired with lyrics about caring about nothing. Millenials’ music was angry; Generation Z’s is ambivalent.
Enter Christina Munsey. The 18-year-old Raleigh native dropped her debut EP, for me, or for you, last Friday after releasing three singles in a month. The lead single, “crystal skies,” is radio-ready—in fact, it was recently added to Spotify’s “Fresh Finds” pop playlist—with a slow backbeat and lyrics about zoning out when you’re somewhere you don’t want to be. It captures the typical Zoomer apathy that stems from disappointment.
Munsey draws lyrical inspiration from her experiences and the forces of nature, particularly storms. Her light, breezy vocals are often complemented by the bass-heavy beats produced by Au Lune, finding a middle ground between bedroom pop and R&B. I love “swoony” and “hazy,” songs that are the sonic embodiments of a smoky house party. “Hazy,” in particular, shows off Munsey’s ability as a writer and a singer, and the production suits it perfectly, showing off Au Lune’s ability to create his own squalls.
I admire any 18-year-old starting a career in music, but Munsey has room to grow and set herself apart by experimenting with producers whose beats highlight her airy voice instead of overpowering it. While catchy, “crystal skies” could have benefitted from softer beats to highlight Munsey’s dynamic vocals, and “california glow,” the weakest of song the set, seems to be one of the only tracks where the storyline isn’t based on her personal experiences.
Part of me wants to see Munsey grab onto the raw emotions that she seems to be brushing past in her lyrics, using the blood from her beating heart as ink—something that will come the more she puts her words into the world. But there’s another part of me—a big-sister part that’s just a little older than her—that understands what comes from putting your emotions out there with no buffer. The internet is very picky about teenage girls.
Luckily for Munsey, she’s got a lot of great women who will remind her not to listen, and a lot of talent to build on.
Contact digital content manager Sara Pequeño at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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