After recording a bunch of singles, some tapes, and a strong debut album for Hardly Art in 2013, Colleen Green's second album, Sock It to Me, was her first to be made in a studio with other musicians helping out. I Want to Grow Up was recorded in Nashville with JEFF the Brotherhood's Jake Orrall producing and playing guitar, and Diarrhea Planet's Casey Weissbuch on drums. Since so much of her initial charm was based around the cheesy D.I.Y. sound she got from crummy equipment and drum machines, it's a bit of a leap for her to go all in with a big rock sound like she does here. Luckily, she chose some very sympathetic guys to work with, and the trio doesn't overdo it with sonic trickery. Mostly, it's very simple and classic guitar-bass-drums, with Orrall cranking out some heavy guitar soloing while the occasional keyboard pops up for flavoring. (She doesn't completely retire the crummy drum machines; they make occasional appearances.) Even better, Green's songwriting is sharper this time around, with serious lyrics that closely revolve around the theme laid out in the album's title, and lots of very hooky melodies. The majority of the album falls into the punk-pop approach of previous records, with tunes like "TV" and "Pay Attention" delivering lots of chunky guitar noise and Green's sweet, slacker vocals. This time out, she ups the pop side of the equation and some of the songs sound like '90s radio hits. "Things That Are Bad for Me, Pt. 1" and "Some People" are like Juliana Hatfield and Blake Babies tracks, respectively, and the should-be hit single "Wild One" walks the same '70s power pop walk, with the same finger-snapping strut, that Ex Hex displayed on their 2014 album Rips. The light tone of the album is balanced somewhat by songs that delve into the darker side of Green's coming of age, especially the thudding hard rock grind of "Things That Are Bad for Me, Pt. 1" and the lengthy ballad "Deeper Than Love," which is equal parts bummer and creepy, thanks to its lyrics about murder and self-loathing. Taken altogether, the various sounds and moods on I Want to Grow Up are a nice progression from her debut, and show Green wrestling with some pretty big issues while still dishing out really good pop songs that'll have you singing along after the first spin.
AllMusic Review by Tim Sendra