Nostalgia Tracks: Youth Lagoon’s “The Year of Hibernation”, My Coming-of-Age Soundtrack

In the section Nostalgia Tracks, team members discuss their favorite songs, ones that they have a deep connection with. In this installment, Editor-in-Chief Liza discusses growing up by way of Youth Lagoon’s debut album The Year of Hibernation that was released in 2011. 

I discovered Youth Lagoon on accident. I was just starting to get into music, so in attempt to educate myself, I perused the corners of Pitchfork. I was looking through reviews of recently released albums and the cover of Youth Lagoon’s The Year of Hibernation (a hazy photograph of a rocky mountain with a hint of a rainbow) caught my eye. I know they tell you not to “judge a book by its cover”, but I never followed that rule, so I clicked further. I had no idea what to expect from this album — I didn’t even read the lengthy and probably extremely intelligent review that accompanied the cover; I just pressed play.

While five years ago I weeped and no one knew/Holding my guitar, I strummed a tune/I sang “I love you but I have to cut you loose”

It was 2011, I was 17. I was going through a period of my life where I was simultaneously finding out who I was and feeling crippling anxiety about the future. This duality caused me to dive into deep introspection, a place where I would often feel extremely lost. I was also feeling confined in my small town and I ached to be somewhere else , I just didn’t know where. This was when I discovered The Year of Hibernation.

There is something so vulnerable and raw about each of the songs that Trevor Powers, who creates music under the moniker Youth Lagoon, wrote for this album. The instrumentals are minimal, but at the same time create a hypnotic ambience, the repetitive synth weighing heavy against the distant muffled vocals. These songs weren’t just background noises for me; whenever I pressed play, they became my environment. The themes explored in this album are melancholic, but honest, which brought about an ironic sense of comfort for me. Powers is able to create a powerful (pun-intended) intimacy between his songs and the listener, a skill that marks a truly talented musician.

Started getting older/ I took it on myself/To find out why I’m the way that I am/ But I cant find a conclusion/No I think I’m gettin’ closer/Yeah I know I’m gettin’ closer 

I used to be outspoken doin’ anything for someones attention/ And when that changed I guess you thought that I was no longer me/ Although I finally found me/ So take the other bodies/ And put them by the TV

As Powers sings of small town imagery, I’m brought back to the nights I would drive the same route for hours without a destination, trying to figure out where to go next; the wooded scenery became my backdrop; The Year of Hibernation, my soundtrack. Each track contains a rush of nostalgic and sometimes bitter memories. This album holds my coming-of-age anthems, and I’m not done growing up just yet.


Your honesty was killing me/The monsters in the room were all dancing to the music all around us/A door is always open if it isn’t closed/And a plant is said to be dead if it doesn’t grow/I’ll grow.. I will grow


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