"I've been starting over for a long time. I'm not ready for another day," sings Mikal Cronin, balancing his breezy and bubbly pop instincts with the thoughtful worry of aging, growing up, and that "Weight" that life can occasionally smack you in the face with. On MCII, the May 7th due sequel to Cronin's instant-classic self-titled debut, the young Laguna Beach-raised songwriter ups the ante on his signature sunny-acoustic-meets-thunderous-electric-fuzz brand of rock 'n' roll. Cronin's not only jumped labels—from the medium-sized Trouble In Mind Records to heavyweight Merge—but on "Weight" it's evident he's also honing and perfecting his signature brew into its sharpest and most instantaneously appealing articulation yet. If "Shout It Out" hit home with the surface-level fun of that giant sing-along chorus, "Weight" hits somewhere a little deeper, darker, and more personally relatable: that feeling of leaving behind all the mystery and innocence of youth for the day-to-day struggles and mundanity of adulthood. Though if Cronin keeps writing and releasing tracks this good, the future just may not look so bad. Photo by Kirstie Shanley.