Tuesday, January 05, 2021

Yungblud weird! - Album review

Yungblud has become known for breaking boundaries in terms of style and sound; and he’s famed for showing the world that being different is nothing to be ashamed of and he’s shouting that message to the world louder than ever with his new album weird!

The album itself is a somewhat collaborative effort between Dominic Harrison and his fans as he’s dedicated the piece to them numerous times over with the album being a shared story of his own life, the lives of his fans, and the story they’ve come to share as the family that has been created between artist and fan base and these stories have been put out there to share with the world. 

The album opens with the track theresa, it opens with a music box style chime before progressing into the punk rock power anthem style sound. The album is a creation for the fans with its message being clear in this opening song with lyrics such as ‘as long as I watch over you, we don’t need to say we’re dead’ and that is something Harrison wants to convey, that no matter what he is there for his fans even if it feels like no one else is and as long as they’ve got him, they never need to feel alone because he’s got their back. It’s a song that would be perfect for the live environment as you can imagine fans coming together at a gig and just pushing that little bit closer together as they find strength and support in the song and in each other and there’s a safety in this that you’re not alone no matter what you may think. 

The album then moves into one of my personal favourites - cotton candy, it’s more of an upbeat almost bubblegum pop number but it’s got an addictive sound that makes it so easy to put on repeat. Although it’s a pop style number, there is an underlying sensuality which gets under your skin and flows into your body. Even though the song is seemingly a pop classic, lyrically it’s still got message and meaning to it. The connection to the fans is ever present with lyrics such as ‘tell me your problems, I got the same’ that shows the unity of thoughts and feelings between Harrison and his fans; there is a mutual understanding and empathy of the difficulties faced in modern day life. There also seems to be an acknowledgement of the state of society with the lyric ‘the modern world is turning the wrong way round’ which feels like an acknowledgment of how in a time when differences are more present than ever, being different is treated as a problem and the idea of being the same as everyone else is celebrated and encouraged making ideologies feel more confused than ever. 

The album then progresses to a rock sounding song of escapism in the form of strawberry lipstick, with a hedonistic heavy sound the song feels like a momentary out of body experience; but sometimes that is exactly the sort of song you need to hear, and so if this song comes on the best way to listen to is it to turn it up, tune the world out and forget about everything for a few minutes. It’s a sign that incites bliss and power with the intensity of sound finding its way into your body and brain and giving the kind of ass kicking, I can do anything feeling to it’s listeners. It’s empowerment and confidence wrapped up in a 2 minute 44 second sound experience and feels incredibly fitting for the album and it’s message of self belief because it feels as though Harrison has found a way to pack up confidence in a little package and send it to anyone who needs it through the means of this song. 

Next up is perhaps one of the most personal songs on the album - mars, which was inspired by a fan interaction that Harrison had when he met a young woman who shared her story of how her family were able to accept her for who she truly was after attending a Yungblud gig with her. The emotion of the song and it’s inspiration is clear throughout with the raw vocals that are interspersed. Although the song feels sombre in its reflection of the sadness of the young woman’s story, which is coupled with the powerful and raw moments of the confusion surrounding the lack of acceptance; there is also a feeling of hope within the song. The moments of raw power also feel like a means of lighting the fire inside of you that helps keep you going because in the lyrics Harrison sings ‘is there any life on Mars?’ and this song feels like it’s saying yes there is; that life is you and your life, it’s Harrison’s life and the lives of so many others who are different in some way. All of these people are the life on Mars, they are the future, you are the future and the future is bright. 

superdeadfriends is quite simply what feels like chaotic madness within in a song but in the best way possible. Reminiscent of the Beastie Boys it’s got a slightly old school feel to it but with a modern day stamp over the top. Harrison takes a no holes barred straight laced approach lyrically with lyrics such as ‘when you’re making a baby in missionary, be prepared to accept them for what they’re gonna be’ and ‘it’s time to take a look at the world through our eyes’ with its direct message to all the people who can’t accept those who are different from them and telling them to try living life as someone who’s different and then maybe they’d understand that the world isn’t so clear cut. It’s a song of emotional release anger at the injustice in the world and standing up against the people causing the problems; it’s a song with a message plain and simple but again it’s for the fans with the calling out of behaviours and challenging people’s perceptions, it’s a song that shows people they’re not alone and there’s people who will stand up for you and fight for you and who you are. 

From the slightly chaotic intensity of superdeadfriends to the slowed down vulnerability of love song, we get to see Harrison lay his soul bare in the song with the difficulties of navigating love in both familial and romantic relationships and yet another demonstration of his versatility as an artist. The song is about laying your heart on the line, even when life has chewed you up and seemingly only showed you the dark side of love; it also shows that there is always someone who can come along and help you try to find the good side however difficult that process may be. It is a sweet and romantic song even with its darker lyrical content and it embodies its title, in that it is a love song that shows how one person can come along and try to show you that things can be better. They can show you how love can be and should be and in turn, you show them your love for them by trying to navigate a side of love you may not have experienced in order to return that love back to them. 

Up next is god save me, but don’t drown me out which is the sort of song that feels perfect for those late night/early morning moments when you’re somewhat stuck in your own mind, and there is that sensation that you’re not quite out of reality but not quite still in it either. The song embodies that midnight hour sensation when the world feels a little different, and for just a short while you’ve drifted away from the here and now and delved into a place inside your own mind. Lyrically the song also embodies this sensation because more often than not when you’re experiencing this moment and are in your own mind you begin to get lost in yourself and your own mind; and for so many people the depths the mind wanders too are filled with darkness, insecurity, inner voices and inner demons and this song acknowledges that. But whilst acknowledging this, the song also provides a lightness from this and becomes a saviour song from this darkness; it says yes you may feel like this sometimes but that’s okay, but it’s not okay to let these thoughts and feelings take control because you are so much more than those dark thoughts and moments and you need to remember that there is light and love for you because you are the lightness and the love you need, you’ve got that within yourself. 

The song ice cream man follows on from this and it’s very much a song that is fitting for the live show experience it’s a song to play loud and live with its pop punk anthemic style that allows you to listen to it and picture yourself at a gig. You can play it loud and picture yourself surrounded by people as you all scream the lyrics at the top of your lungs as you jump around and just let loose for an energy fuelled couple of minutes. Lyrically it feels like a middle finger in the air song with a ‘stick it’ approach to the world of rules and regulations and to anyone who is trying to put you on boxes and control who you are; the song is very much a ‘to hell with it’ approach to those notions and the people trying to enforce them that says forget the world and you do you. 

The albums title track weird! has an electro synth style opening and is the embodiment of everything the record stands for. The song is a discussion of all the struggles that people face; the anxieties, the worries and the fears about being different and the different thoughts racing through the mind because of this; but at the songs heart it makes clear that in-spite of all this it’s all going to be okay. The chorus has the positivity of the help and reassurance that yes things are weird and we are weird as people but that’s okay, you’re okay, and this weirdness is okay. The connection between Harrison and his fans is yet again evident with the lyrics ‘come hold my hand, hold it tight’ and ‘don’t wreck your brain, it’ll be alright’ and there’s the feeling of genuine emotion behind the lyrics; and for so many fans, Harrison himself is that hope and support that they need, and his reassurance that things will be okay and that being weird is okay is the much needed reassurance and remedy to life that they need. 

The next song charity feels like a song that will become a go to for many fans because it feels like an embodiment of emotion and experience that many people will have gone through. The song is about losing your sense of self and trying to rediscover who you truly are; knowing the importance that comes with being the true version of yourself and never losing sight of, or trying to hide the real you no matter what. With lyrics such as ‘but when you start feeling nothing, nothing becomes clear’ and ‘so please speak, please laugh, please dance, please cry’ Harrison shows his compassion and care for his fans yet again. The lyrics demonstrate the importance of not allowing yourself to become nothing and emphasising the importance of feeling something and that no matter you feel, as long as you feel something you know you’re still here, still alive and surviving and as long as you’re here you can be you. The song is a means of telling people to never let your feelings or yourself be made to feel invalid by anyone and to just be yourself, love your life and feel every emotion and live every moment. 

The album also features a collaboration between Yungblud, Machine Gun Kelly and Travis Barker. It’s a punk rock sound that is filled with electric energy that seeming embodies the connection and the friendship shared between the artists. As separate artists the individual radiate a somewhat chaotic energy within their music and this energy has come together in this power anthem that allows listeners to just lose your inhibitions and let loose too. This song was practically made for the live setting whether it’s a club or a gig, it’s a song to jump around and allow yourself to get hot and sweaty without any cares for who can see you. The song is a sure fire hit that you can’t help but enjoy and is a huge success for all artists involved. 

Another personal favourite of mine from the album is its quiet in beverly hills. The song is simple in terms of sound with Harrison’s vocals  being the overriding focus which is accompanied by guitar and elements of orchestral strings. This is a song that raises goosebumps across your skin with its combination of vulnerability and Harrison’s vocal talent; and at its core this song demonstrates the beauty of his voice which is smooth and soothing. As such the song eases itself under your skin and soothes the mind, body and soul with Harrison’s beautiful vocals. When you combine the vocals with the lyrics such as the repetition of ‘I’ll love you all of my life’ it very much feels like a song for both the fans and the artist. Harrison has been clear of his love for the fans and how this album is for them; but the lyrics also feel like a demonstration of the fans feelings and love for Harrison as a person and his music because both have become so important to so many. The love shared between artist and fans is one and the same in this instance and the simplistic beauty of the shared love and respect has been embodied within this song. 

The album closes with the freak show, it’s a song filled with changing tempos of ups and downs which seemingly reflect the experience of the lives of those who are ‘different’ and the struggles that are faced when trying to be yourself and trying to be unique in a world that tells you you to be the same as everyone else. 

In terms it has a sound that is reminiscent of My Chemical Romance ‘welcome to the black parade’ in that it has the sound of a song that will become an anthem and go down in history as a song of a generation. It is likely to become an iconic number for Harrison as it cements him as an iconic figurehead of a generation with the song representing himself and his fans and everything they stand for. 

This song is a celebration of everyone that is different, it’s a song for the weird people who don’t ‘fit in’ or ‘conform’ to what so much of society considers to be normal and correct. It’s an empowering song of acceptance and taking pride in who you are with its message ‘welcome to the freak show, I hope you find yourself today’ that shows you it’s okay to be different and be you. It will live on as an iconic number that will be held in the hearts and minds of so many people especially the ‘outsiders and misfits’ that it represents. 

weird! is an artistic spectacle that has been turned into a musical experience with a variety of genres and sounds to take listeners through a journey of Harrison’s clear cut talent and skill as an artist and musician. But, at its heart is the storyline interwoven through each song, the story of self love and acceptance and the message that it’s okay to be you, whoever you are it. It doesn’t matter what boxes you’ve been put into by the rest of the world, because you are not just a box or a number, you are someone and that someone is so special and wonderful and as long as you love yourself and believe in yourself nothing else matters. The message is one that Harrison promotes constantly in his life and career because it’s something he believe so strongly in and to have it be the main concept of the album shows the passion and emotion that Harrison has not only for his music but also for his fans and for the world because whether you’re a fan of his music or not the message is still the same. 

This is an album that will remain in the hearts and minds of people forever and it’s music will live in the souls of those who listen for an eternity. Thank you to Yungblud aka Dominic Harrison for an album that flys the flag for the misfits, the outcasts and everyone in between and thank you for telling the world and showing the world that it’s okay to be weird. 

-Georgina Shine


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