Chloe Ament, once again, changed my playlists for the better

Ellie McDowell

More stories from Ellie McDowell

It takes a village
April 19, 2023

Chloe Ament

The album cover of “When I’m Older” by Chloe Ament

Last year I found a small artist named Chloe Ament. I wrote a review on her most recent EP at the time Broken Bodies, Broken Hearts. Since then, I’ve been following her closely, watching for new releases. A couple of months ago she released a new album called When I’m Older, and I have finally found the words to describe what might be one of the best albums I have ever listened to.

“Trains” – Anne and Gilbert – Anne with an E

The second track of When I’m Older is my least favorite song on the album. “Trains” is also one of my favorite songs of all time. I absolutely adore the story this song tells, and I think it’s the perfect addition to the album.

“Trains” was released as Ament’s last sneak peek track of the album in early January. When it was first released I listened to it on repeat, and I haven’t stopped listening to it. 

This song is about Anne and Gilbert from the Netflix series Anne with an E. Before I can properly review this song, I do have to admit that I haven’t yet finished the series. This song is the reason I started rewatching it, and I plan to finish it, but I can’t fully connect “Trains” to the storyline of the show because of this.

This is the ultimate love song.

A lot of the songs I hear on the radio or come up in my Spotify playlists hold only one aspect of what love really is. This one, on the other hand, speaks of the good and the bad that love holds. It speaks of the confusion that love is—when you’re young and you’re unsure of what the future holds, you get confused. It speaks of the grip that a first love holds.

Ament does a phenomenal job encapsulating the idea that sometimes love is the right person, wrong time. “Trains” portrays the rollercoaster of a relationship Anne and Gilbert must hold, from young love to the day he realized he still loved her while standing at the altar with another woman.

Ament’s lyrics never fail to catch me. One of my favorite lyrics ever is from this song. “She knows he won’t try to change her.” This has always been the base of every love I have ever held. The idea that if someone really loves me, they love me for me, not for the me they want me to be. Love should never require change, and this song communicates that.

“Meet Me Where it’s Quiet” – Warner and Juliette – Shatter Me

“Meet Me Where it’s Quiet” is the seventh track of the album. I spent a while trying to break the tie for last between this one and “Trains”, and I ultimately liked this one a little more.

Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi, the book that this song is inspired by, is a book I read for school. I really liked it, and I’ve been meaning to read the rest of the series but my TBR is so long I’m not sure when it’ll ever happen.

The only thing I don’t totally love about this song is the repetition. Don’t get me wrong, I like the lyrics, and I think Ament is a genius when it comes to her lyrics, but this song is very repetitive. The majority of the song is just the words “Meet me where it’s / Meet me where it’s quiet” over and over again, and that’s where the lyrics of this one lose me.

On the other hand, this means I focus more on the tune of it. The backtrack on this song is very low-key and slightly mysterious. I love the emotion that it draws. I want to know more about the story behind this song because of how the tune makes me feel.

“the boy” – Steve Harrington – Stranger Things

Confession: I haven’t watched Stranger Things yet. I started it and promptly got scared and gave up. The first track from When I’m Older is about Steve Harrington, a character from the Netflix original series. After listening to this song, I might have to give it another try.

The song starts with a child-like sounding lyric. “Here we go again / crawled under my skin.” The song quickly morphs into more pop/rock-sounding music. I like this style compared to some of the others on the album. It contrasts the more laid-back and almost broadway feeling of most of Ament’s other music.

I like the feeling of this song. Something about it feels almost nostalgic. I can’t exactly place my finger on why it makes me feel this way, but it does.

My favorite line of “the boy” is “You might not be the boy next door / but you’re far from who you were before. / And I can’t help but wanna be / the girl that other girls envy.” I don’t even know why I love these lyrics so much, but they make me smile. Maybe it’s because it contrasts the usual “girl next door” that authors and songwriters write about, but I absolutely adore this line.


Unlike a lot of Ament’s other music, track five isn’t inspired by a book. Before releasing the album, Ament mentioned that some of the songs on it were going to be inspired by real life and people she knows, and this is one of those songs.

This song was so hard to rank. I love it so much, but I love all of the songs so much, and sadly this one didn’t make my top five.

This song reminds me of how hard growing up is. I think that’s what this one is about. About how much growing up hurts, and about how much humanity sucks sometimes. 

It also reminds me of everything going on in the world, and how lucky I am to be almost saved by the bubble of Forest Hills. This song holds one of my favorite lines from any song. “Going through each day without ever feeling alive. / Wondering why I’ve been spared / while the whole worlds falling to pieces. / Holding on to every laugh and hoping this time I’ll find peace.” There are a million more lyrics from this song I would love to highlight, but these ones make me feel so seen. They make me feel like I’m not so alone in the hurt I feel in growing up in a world so full of hate.

This song mentions a lot about survivor’s guilt, and I can’t help but feel it a little too. What makes me so special? Why do I get to sit here, safe in my bubble, while people all over the world have to die because of what they believe in?

“afterlife” is a song I could listen to on repeat forever. It teaches a valuable lesson about what it feels like to feel lost in the world, but it also makes me feel seen. It makes me feel justified in my anger at the world.

“off-chance” – Dave Rygalski – Gilmore Girls

Track eight of When I’m Older was inspired by Dave Rygalski from Gilmore Girls—yet another show I know little to nothing about. I’m about an episode and a half in, so I honestly don’t know anything about the character. 

“Off-chance”, to me, seems like it’s about unrequited love. Everything about it feels so relatable—from the changing routines to trying to catch someone’s attention to the inability to think when they’re around. It’s just a very relatable song. 

“It can’t get worse”

Track four is another one of the songs that is about Ament’s life or someone she knows. 

This song makes me smile. It’s about how even though life can suck sometimes—motivation can go away and depression can take over—it can’t get much worse than it already is. That might be the opposite of what Ament expected the reaction to this song would be, but it just feels like my daily life.

“Tomorrow will be better (it can’t get worse).”

Even when life is awful and I can’t get back up after I’m knocked down, I’ll listen to this song to remind myself that it can’t get worse than it already is. Even when all of the embarrassing things I have ever said or done are at the forefront, I’ll have a reminder that it can’t get worse.

“Perfume” – Jude Duarte – The Cruel Prince

“Perfume” is inspired by yet another book I haven’t read. Track 10 is based on Jude Duarte from The Cruel Prince

I like this song because the lyrics fit perfectly with the music to tell a story. I can tell when an important or intense lyric is coming because the music picks up. Listeners can tell by the way the music is written that it is inspired by some sort of fantasy book. 

I like the lyrics in this song. When I first listened to it, I didn’t really like it. It just isn’t really my style, but as I got into the lyrics a little more for this review, I realized how good it really is. 

“You know you can’t deceive / the one who haunts your dreams.”

“I Thought So” – Jo and Laurie – Little Women

I love Little Women. That could be because of the most recent movie adaptation (I think Emma Watson is the most amazing actress ever and there isn’t much anyone can do to change my mind), but I love it nonetheless. 

I fell in love with this song the minute it started playing.

 “Forgot that I was driving til I parked and killed the engine.” 

The first lyric of the 6th track drew me in and the music kept me hooked until the end, and then the second, third, and fourth times I listened to it before moving on to the next song. 

The lyrics of this song make me sad. They are about realizing you love someone a little too late. It holds heartbreak, love, and a little piece of jealousy. The lyrics and the music are just absolutely beautiful. “I Thought So” is absolutely one of my favorite songs Ament has written. I’m in awe.


Track 12, another one about Ament’s life, was a tough competitor. I’m sad it didn’t make my top 3, because I truly love this song. I feel the lyrics to my core. 

“MAYBE” is the closing track to When I’m Older, and I can’t think of a better song to end the album with. This song is the one that has the title of the album in its lyrics, and I love how Ament wrote the lyric. “Maybe, when I’m older it’ll all make sense.”

This song is about how, as humans, we spend a lot of time judging ourselves based on other people’s promises, opinions, and bodies. The world holds so much judgment, and it’s apparent to everyone.

As for feeling this song to my core, get ready for that.

“20 years of this, / I’m lucky if the world doesn’t end / before I have a chance to screw it up / and learn my lesson.”

I’m 17 years old and the world keeps turning on itself. I haven’t had the chance to burn things down and learn the lessons that I need to. 

“California’s burning and the schools are next. / I’m reading books to fight the sadness and escape the present. / Maybe when I’m older it’ll all make sense.”

I spend more time in fantasy worlds I read and write because it’s so much less scary. California is constantly on fire, and people keep dying in school. The world is caving in, and I’m watching it helplessly.

“I’ve known a girl for all of 20 years, she hates growing up. / So she started writing to expel all the thoughts that told her she’d never be enough. / People start to listen even though she has doubts. / She’s got a hundred thousand questions, but she’ll figure it out.”

I’ve known a girl for all of 17 years, and she hates growing up. She envies people who can write as well as she wishes she could. Maybe someday she’ll figure it out. Maybe someday she’ll make an impact.

“wwbk” – Nikolai and Alina – Siege and Storm

I didn’t know who track 9 was about until I looked it up for my review. I still don’t really know. Siege and Storm is a book by Leigh Bardugo. The cover is absolutely beautiful, and this song has been the reason I added it to my TBR.

This song is another one I feel very deeply. The only reason it’s higher than “MAYBE” is because I like the story this song tells. My favorite lyrics from this song might be some of my favorite ones ever. 

“I let it hurt til I couldn’t feel a thing. / Now I’m picking up the pieces.” 

I feel like these lyrics describe me. I spent a lot of my life letting people walk all over me until I was numb, and I’m only now learning how to pick up the pieces.

This song, to me, embodies the idea that love is pain. Sometimes it’s more painful than it should be, but it is. Love isn’t always nice.

From the lyrics, it sounds like this song is about a girl feeling used by a boy. He used her to get over someone else, and she is feeling hurt. This is a completely understandable feeling, but the music makes me feel that hurt. It makes me feel the emotion that the character might be feeling.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, Ament is a musical genius.

“Landon” – Conrad Fisher – The Summer I Turned Pretty

For almost a week, most of my internal conflict was whether or not to put Track 2 of When I’m Older as number one or two on my list. 

I love Conrad Fisher. I can’t tell you why, I just do. And I love this song just as much. I love the style of the music, I love the lyrics, I love the book it’s based on; I love everything about “Landon”. 

“I know we’re young but sands are slipping through the hourglass.” 

I like this line because it reminds me to pay attention to the little things in life. It reminds me to pay attention to the time that’s passing because it goes by quickly. It reminds me to live my life to the fullest.

This song is about a boy who is probably a bad influence, but is worth “wasting the time”. 

“If you’re looking for something to do, I’ve got an urge I can’t deny to waste my time on you.”

I envy the way Ament can turn stories written by other people into music. I envy the way Ament can write. I will forever follow this small artist and listen to the music she releases.

“Strangely Divine” – Druig and Makkari – Eternals

Track 11 of When I’m Older might be my favorite song ever. I adore this song. I don’t know if I’ve ever loved a song as much. 

Every time I listen to “Strangely Divine” I get a little teary. This song is about love to its deepest point. Love is something strangely divine.

“There were moments they both thought forever wouldn’t be long enough. / But they were intertwined by something strangely divine, / when the stars aligned.”

I don’t know if I can even explain how much I love this song. When I say Ament is a genius, this is what I mean. This song reminds me of the people I love the most. This song, to me, describes soulmates.

“He was cold, / but she had a fire burning in her soul. / A flame that would keep them warm through the winter.” 

Opposites generally attract, and this song describes that. I wish I knew how to describe the way this song makes me feel, but I don’t have the words.

I envy the way Ament can turn stories written by other people into music. I envy the way Ament can write. I will forever follow this small artist and listen to the music she releases. I love the way she turns books into music and still manages to keep those stories. I can’t say enough good things about Ament, all I can say is please go check her out.