The process of growing up and taking on more responsibilities, or “adulting,” takes different forms for everyone. While some may glide through young adulthood into full-fledged middle-aged freedom, many of us struggle to find our place in this crazy world we live in. On the sophomore record from Holy Pinto, Aymen Saleh does a great job of encapsulating all that goes into this transition from being a care-free kid to an adult.
Bookended by the two short songs of “Adult #1” and “Adult #2,” Saleh navigates us through his thoughts on taking on more responsibilities and relationships along his journey. Saleh sings via acapella “Adult, I am, the product of my choices/Obsessions in my vices/My fear as the glue” and sets the stage for a record that takes us through a hell of a ride through his headspace. The opening track blends quickly into the first single, “Daisychain,” which is a blast of guitar-driven rock with some killer hooks mixed in. It’s a perfect choice for a first single to a record that has many endearing and memorable moments attached to it.
“Gold Leaf” follows this brilliant single with some more intricate and underrated guitar playing from Saleh. The themes of growing up and figuring out life in general are prevalent here, and the insight that Saleh gives us into his changing relationships comes across as genuine and heartfelt. It’s on this song that he describes a relationship where he feels that he could be giving more of himself to this person. “I’m so damn selfish, I run around/Wash me of love and commitment/And never tie me down/I’ll buy you flowers from a petrol station/Just to prove that I miss your touch/You say you still love my music/But I go away too much, I go away too much.” Saleh wears his heart on his sleeve for this person as he deals with the heartbreak of being a touring musician who may not always be around when this person needs him.
The latter half of the LP continues to provide more insight on what Saleh is experiencing this crucial transition in his life. “Salt” focuses on the feeling of regret, while the somber opening of the track, “King” showcases his new-found confidence in taking on more and still living to tell the tale.
“You Are My Seatbelt” again focuses on Saleh’s vulnerability on being alone through his journey in adulthood, and he makes it clear that he is still in need of his support system to get through his quest. This aspect of growing up is incredibly relatable, as tough times can make us question everything that we have accomplished at this point in our lives, yet having a strong collection of relationships makes it seem a little more doable.
The closing lyric in “Adult #2” sums up the record’s theme of hope when he sings, “The best is yet to come.” This dual meaning of Holy Pinto’s career and Aymen Saleh’s life speak volumes to their determination to press on and not worry about having all the answers. Sometimes, it’s more important to focus on the silver linings rather than deal with negativity that too easily enters our lives along the way.