Soccer Mommy’s “color theory” is the kind of album that will absolutely wreck you if you let it. It can make eyes well up or force a mighty sob. When it’s done, listeners might feel freer than they have in months or they might want to lay under their covers for a period of extended hibernation.

It’s a lot for a 22-year-old artist to accomplish. It’s something that musicians with decades of experience can’t always do. But Soccer Mommy’s age and raw truth can’t be taught. 

“Clean,” Soccer Mommy’s debut studio album released in 2018, was hard-hitting. It kicked you in the face with its coolness. There were plenty of emotional roundhouses but the main feeling it left listeners with was a sense of powerful aloofness. Like, “you can look at me, but that doesn’t mean you deserve a smile.” 

“Color theory” is a punch to the gut. 

Sure, some songs definitely feel like something a teenage girl who lives in Maine would listen to. She would walk down the streets with her headphones (with wires) plugged into a Walkman. Maybe she’d be thinking about her high school girlfriend (or boyfriend) or SATs or which prestigious Ivy league school she was going to go to. Think Rory Gilmore, but cooler. 

But most of the songs aren’t about that surface-level angst. With mentions of self-harm and a dying mother, Soccer Mommy has grown up and her sadness has grown with her. 

There isn’t a single moment of doubt in Soccer Mommy’s intentions or her feelings. Nothing is faked and none of her painfully honest lyrics feel like she’s saying, “Look at me. Look how sad I am. Aren’t I cute?”

“Color theory” seems like a once-in-a-lifetime album. It almost feels like a fluke. But Soccer Mommy didn’t use luck to create something so good. She used a raw emotional depth that only a 20-something girl with too much sadness to carry has. 

Soccer Mommy isn’t just sad though. She’s also a badass. Her first single from “color theory” is the 7-minute “yellow is the color of her eyes.” It takes confidence to release a song that long as a single, especially in the era of streaming, where you can skip a song if you get bored. 

But if you skipped it, you wouldn’t get the depth of her lyrics. You wouldn’t feel the pain of a girl who can feel cancer stealing her mother. 

“Color theory” hurts. But it’s worth it. It lets listeners take a break from forcing a smile. After all, if Soccer Mommy doesn’t expect you to be fake-happy, why should you expect it from yourself?