Growing older is a weird concept when you sit and think about it. After you’re born, you’re expected to spend your life learning and growing wiser in order to turn into this magical version of yourself that knows who they are and what they want to become. If only that were as easy as it seems on paper. The Happiness of Tomorrow, sophomore album from Canadian alt-pop duo Neon Dreams, plays to me like a map of trying to discover yourself as you’re growing old and realizing that it might not be quite as easy to grow up and find yourself as everyone makes it out to be.
I recently turned 26 and to be frank, I’m starting to feel old. Listen, I know you must be thinking that doesn’t make any sense, 26 is young, and believe me I know I sound like a nut. In a world that is moving so quickly, I think it’s easy to get caught up in comparing your life track to those of others and you feel like you’re getting left behind if you’re struggling to figure out what you want to do with this life you’ve been given. As I listened to The Happiness of Tomorrow, I was reminded that although I might feel like I’m falling behind and no one can relate, there are plenty of people out there in the world that actually feel exactly like I do. Maybe something as seemingly small as a musical album can show us that and lift us up to find ourselves.
The album starts out with a nostalgia-inducing track titled “Lifestyles of the Broke and Nameless.” This song first stood out to me on title alone, simply because I am a huge Good Charlotte fan and “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous” was a jam for me growing up. Along with the line mentioning “dreaming of the summer on the Warped Tour,” this entire track was full of nostalgia and had me wishing I was back in high school when my only care was who was going to win the football game on Friday night.
“Sick of Feeling Useless” hit me particularly hard. As I listened, I reflected on my life and how I had a list of goals I thought I’d accomplish and have yet to check off very many of those boxes. I think in today’s world, especially being stuck in this crazy pandemic for so long, it’s easy to feel like you’re not doing enough and like you’re entirely useless. While I can admit to feeling pretty damn useless lately, this song had a unique motivation for me that made me think “hey, I am sick of feeling useless, so what the hell am I gonna do about it?” I think that a lot of people in their 20s are currently feeling this way and could use a solid jam like this to get them back to reaching for their goals.
“House Party” was the track that first introduced me to Neon Dreams and oof, when I say it connected to exactly how I was feeling in that exact moment is an understatement. This tied me back into the fact that growing older and not knowing exactly where you fit in with your social circle is hard. Transitioning from the stage of going to random parties every weekend to focusing on yourself and your goals is weird. I know I’ve lost several “friends” over the last few years because instead of wanting to go out every night, I wanted to work on growing as a person and they just didn’t understand. This track is a great reminder that it’s okay to move on and leave people behind if they don’t fit into your life and goals any more.
That concept transitions flawlessly into the next track, “Don’t Go Hating Me Now.” When you start focusing on your goals and accomplishing them, people who were less than supportive of you are either going to have a lot to say about you behind your back or will try and sneak their way back into your life and successes.
“To your friends, who you love, that you haven’t seen in months. It’s cool, don’t have to say much, hold no grudges still your day ones.”
I loved these lyrics particularly because one of the best things about growing up and becoming successful is knowing that the people who truly care about you don’t have to be in touch with you at every single moment to cheer you on. Some of the best relationships in your life are the ones where you don’t speak everyday but you silently cheer each other on.
“All the People” is a track I think every young person should take the time to listen to and deeply hear the lyrics. In a world where social media is so prevalent, it’s easy to think that’s the entire world and base the way you feel about yourself on your social media presence. Too many people are insecure about the best parts of themselves because some random person on the internet has told them it’s not cool. I absolutely love the message this song sends that it’s perfectly okay to be yourself, even if others think it’s weird or uncool. You are unique and you don’t want to be a pasted copy of everyone else just because that’s what has been deemed as cool. DON’T BE AFRAID TO BE YOURSELF, you are the best version of you when you let what everyone else thinks fly out the window and show the world the amazing human that you are! As Neon Dreams perfectly stated “You are original, You’re beautiful, inside and out.”
“I’m With You” is a perfect follow up to “All The People” because this is the point on the album when you realize who you are and you will attract people that love you just for that. When you are confident in yourself and your likes, you start to find people that make you smile and make your life worthwhile. This is a perfect upbeat jam to play when you’re with your favourite people and it doesn’t matter what you’re doing because you’re together and having a great time. Live for these moments with those people and blast this feel good jam while you’re at it.
The album concludes with the title track, “The Happiness of Tomorrow,” which is a perfect wrap up of the reflection of your life. You’ve sat and looked over the good and bad times of your life and start to realize that everyone goes through this. You don’t know exactly what the future holds and there will always be ups and downs but that’s just part of this crazy thing called life. Don’t take it for granted because you are here for a reason and you are meant to accomplish great things, even if you have to go through some struggles along the way.
Overall, I think this album was exactly what I needed at this moment in time. It took me on a rollercoaster of emotions and had me reflecting on all the good and bad parts of my life. We live in a weird time and it’s too easy to get caught up in all the craziness and forget how good life can be and all the things you can accomplish. If you’re going through a hard time or just need a reminder of why you should always continue to push yourself in order to accomplish your goals, take the time to listen to The Happiness of Tomorrow and let the lyrics guide you back to yourself.