Yungblud – weird! (Album Review)
Yungblud – weird!
Released: 4 December 2020
It’s been a while since I’ve reviewed an album, but let me tell you all that I’m back with an absolute beast of a record that I predict will take off faster than the NASA rocket that launched earlier this year. I’m aware that’s a weird thing to say, but the point that I’m trying to make is that I’m confident that this album will be loved by many and very quickly. It is something special, and it’s done very well.
Yungblud came to my knowledge by one of my best friends a few years back and I fell in love with his sound and style, knowing he was going to blow up more than he already had in the time that I wasn’t even aware of his presence in the music world. His previous record 21st Century Liability was quite political in nature and hard hitting. Since then Yungblud has released a few EPs and collaborations with other artists, with the most recent being Bring Me The Horizon.
When I first received my copy of Weird! it was a Monday, and by the Friday, I was already singing along to every word of every song and here’s why.
‘Teresa’ is the opening track and it’s one that I believe is a smart opener, as it starts out with a more acoustic, slow verse and then it speeds up and hits the familiar punk rock style that is notorious and most recognisable with Yungblud’s music. It is quite a pretty track, displaying some of the soft yet powerful vocal abilities that are held (which I’ll touch more on later) and although it’s not one of my favourites, purely due to others standing out more to me for other reasons, it is opening up the record and showing fans that it’s going to be just a little different and not the same full on punk rock style that we’ve previously seen before.
Next up is ‘Cotton Candy’ and ‘Strawberry Lipstick’ which were among the first singles released a few months ago when Weird! was announced, so I won’t cover these too much since they have been out for quite some time now and you may have already heard them. They’re brilliant, danceable tracks that get stuck in your brain for probably just as long as they’ve been released. They’re both a perfect example of what to expect from the entire album, a blend of pop but with the flare of punk rock and doing it so well that it’s not really sitting in any genre and really doesn’t warrant a label. It’s not pop punk, it’s not pop. It’s not punk rock or anything heavier. It’s as though the goal for this entire concept was to remove the labels that had been set in place previously.
‘Mars’ follows after and I have to say, this is actually one that I really love. The story that I felt it portrayed when I had first listened to it was about a young girl who had big dreams to make it as an actress as the lyrics say “she hides underneath the mezzanine, reciting scenes” and talks about how she wishes she could go to California and be adored. But, at the time of writing this, ‘Mars’ has since been released as a single and after further research, this song is ACTUALLY inspired by a young transgender fan whose parents didn’t accept her for who she was and is a track written about taking a stand against homophobia, transphobia and standing strong with the LGBTQIA+ community.
A direct quote from Yungblud’s post via Facebook page describing the song which I think is too beautiful to not include says:
“MARS OUT NOW! i loved directing this video for it is about all of us. from racial inequality to oppression against the lgbtqia+ community to transphobia, climate change denial and beyond. we, us, our generation are going to be the ones to change it. is there any life on mars? yes, we are the life, we are here and we are breathing.”
Moving forward, we have ‘Superdeadfriends’ and if I’m honest, this one isn’t really one that I particularly love. The only way I can think to describe this is going to sound strange, but once you hear the song, you’ll know what I mean. This track is exactly what ADHD sounds like and no I’m not being rude or offensive by saying this, Yungblud and myself both have it. So as someone who has it, I can tell you, this is pretty much what it sounds like. It’s chaos and it’s full on. I’m not a fan of the distortion of the words and the constant sound that is so full on but the lyrics are so much more quiet than everything else going on and to be quite honest, it took me a full two weeks to actually realise what the lyrics were underneath all the distorted chaos that was the song itself, unless it was the clear verse that was being sung. Let me tell you, if you could be inside my brain for a day, sometimes, this is what it sounds like — but with my own thoughts.
‘Love Song’ is next, ah yes, this one is one of my absolute favourites. In fact the first time I heard it, I was a little emotional. It’s such a stunning display of the vocal ability that Yungblud is capable of. It’s a gorgeous slow song that is also showing such a vulnerability about the fact that not all of us know how to be perfect relationship partners and we don’t all immediately fall into that groove of knowing how to act or what to do. As someone who is single and never really been in love, I felt this. While some of the lyrics I felt didn’t relate to me, I still felt like I was able to relate most of what this song was about to myself personally and it’s something that really gets the emotions going when you realise that. It’s such a special feeling, and for fans alike, being able to feel like someone they look up to feels the same way they do at any given point in their past or present.
Speaking of songs that get me emotional and are my favourites, ‘God Save Me, But Don’t Drown Me Out’ follows after, and this one is very similar to the last track in the fact that I have always been able to feel this one. It’s another single that has been out for a few months but I have to talk about it, it’s too much of a favourite for me to not say something. The first time I heard this song a few months ago, I also got emotional. I find it relatable and it’s also so fucking empowering. To put out a song that tells the world to stop letting their insecurities define them, and don’t waste their life — that’s fucking brilliant and it’s something that needs to be said. So often we feel like our insecurities are what people notice the most about us, when really nobody actually gives a shit. Insecurities are normal, but we need to stop letting them define us and learn to love them and that’s what I love most about this track, that’s exactly the point.
‘Ice Cream Man’ is next and I like this one, but this is a song that honestly I don’t understand a whole lot. I like it, and it’s fun to sing along to, but I don’t really understand the lyrics or what it’s about. I guess I don’t have a lot to say about this particular song. I do love it, I love the fun Brit Pop style, but it’s always just been… there? I will always sing and dance to it and I wouldn’t skip it if it came on, but I just don’t feel like there’s as much of a story or a meaning behind it as opposed to other tracks that I’ve mentioned, especially when it follows after ‘God Save Me, But Don’t Drown Me Out’.
‘Weird!’ is what I believe was the very first single to be released with the announcement of the record, and it was released at the perfect time which was in peak quarantine, with lyrics such as “Come hold my hand, hold it tight — in this weird time of life” and if that just doesn’t completely describe 2020 in a nutshell, then I don’t know what does. Again, I won’t talk too much about this as I’m sure you have all heard it and had a boogie to it, because it’s absolutely worth a dance party (Safely and six feet apart please!)
Then we have ‘Charity’ which is probably the most obscure song on this album and it is hands down one of my favourites based on the pure humour of it alone. Every single time, I laugh. The narrative that is in between verses is so strange and so unexpected that it tops off what is already a brilliant track. This is one of the more pop based songs which is in proportion to how the record has played out, with it being more rock based, then pop, and swapping between the two to get this sense of cohesion that ties everything together.
‘It’s Quiet In Beverly Hills’ is such a special track. We all know that living in Hollywood isn’t easy and we’ve all heard of what social influencers go through and how trying to stay relevant takes a toll on people’s mental health with the need to post everything, every single day and how celebrities go through unhealthy coping mechanisms frequently with addictions, and it’s not an easy route for anyone. Why do I mention all of this? Because this song captures it entirely, even alluding to the fact (in my opinion) that people will be fans of someone until they pass away and then they move on to someone new with the lyrics stating “I love you all of my life, until you close your eyes for good” and that to me is the heartbreaking reality. This song is entirely about the societal pressures of living in LA and having to buy followers, be someone you’re not and do whatever it takes to stay relevant in today’s fast moving online culture.
To close out the record, we have another of my absolute favourites from this release which is ‘The Freak Show’. To me, this is another special song that I feel is so empowering and a lot of fans will take this and make it their own. It’s all about taking back the word “freak” and saying yeah, we’re all freaks, so welcome to the freak show. Everyone is a freak in one way or another, so I feel that by making a song that puts such a positive spin on calling someone a freak is exactly what many people need to hear. This track, much like ‘Love Song’ is one that I believe shows off the best vocal ability that Yungblud is capable of. There is no chaotic nature or fun narrative, nothing, it is just a solid punk song and the way that the rough tone in his voice can transition to be so smooth is just absolutely astounding to me and I am constantly in awe of this track in particular.
I will admit that this record is a bit more of a pop sound than I am used to hearing but it’s done in a tasteful way, so it’s not a total genre flip and people won’t recognise the style of music, it is still adding heavy punk and rock elements to almost every song which I believe is showing that Yungblud is staying true to who he is musically, and staying true to his musical influences.
While most of Yungblud’s previous releases have seemed to be more political and taking a stand against authorities lyrically or have been quite hard hitting issues, I feel as though this is a release that is more of a fun energy while being vulnerable, and giving off the impression that this is almost pages torn out of a personal diary.
As you can tell, I had something to say about every song on this record and that’s not because it’s what I had planned, it’s just because I feel that every track is a piece that needs to be discussed in its own right. I wouldn’t normally write about every song, but sometimes you come across albums that just deserve the full in depth discussion, and honestly this was one of them.
When it comes to rating this album, I am hands down going to have to give it a 10/10. I think it’s worth it and as I mentioned at the start, I had this on repeat. This is an album that deserves to be played loud, sung loud, and performed loud. Having two songs that I didn’t particularly love didn’t mean it lost any points because I still enjoy them, I just had others that I preferred.
I highly recommend that people give this a listen and whether you’ve heard of Yungblud previously or not, just give it a chance. Try something new. Maybe he’s not your style or you think he’s not, but maybe you’ll discover something new and a new artist that you can jam out to. I’ll leave that decision up to you readers.
Yungblud – weird! tracklisting:
2. cotton candy
3. strawberry lipstick
6. love song
7. god save me, but don’t drown me out
8. ice cream man
11. it’s quiet in beverly hills
12. the freak show
weird! is out this Friday through Universal Music Australia. Pre-order here
Review By Heather McNab
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