album review: Yungblud – weird!

“Come hold my hand, hold it tight / We’re in a weird time of life / Don’t wreck your brain, it’ll be alright”, Yungblud sings in the titular song of his second studio album ‘weird!’. You might think he’s singing about the whirlwind that is 2020, but that would be too obvious for an unpredictable artist like him. ‘weird!’ is a reference to today’s society, where everyone who strays even a little bit from the standard is considered weird. Dominic wouldn’t be Dominic if he didn’t colour outside the lines. Unbothered with genre, he smashes through rock, pop and punk, defying all stereotypes and becoming a fearless voice of a generation who believes in change.

Opener ‘teresa’ is a heartfelt ballad on which Harrison describes the loving relationship between a girl he met and her boyfriend who tragically passed away: “As long as I watch over you, you don’t need to run.” The song starts slow but unfolds mid-way when hardcore drums and wrecking guitars take over. Where ‘teresa’ is about the love for one person, the bubbly pop hit ‘cotton candy’ embraces polyamory and sexual liberation with arms wide open. The catchy tune, sharp percussion and sexy lyrics may remind you of the 1975.

‘weird!’ takes on a series of genres on the spectrum, showing his most versatile side. With its raw vocals and heavy guitars ‘strawberry lipstick’ has a British punk feeling to it. In ‘love song’ we get to know the stripped back and vulnerable version of Harrison, as he’s falling in love for the first time and changing his perception about love being violent and abusive. “Nobody taught me how to love myself, so how can I love somebody else?”

Yungblud has a gift for shining light on social issues by tackling gender fluidity, LGBTQ+ and self-identity. With its Beastie Boys influence ‘superdeadkids’ is the nu-metal song that stands out the most with 90’s electronic elements and the lyrics: “When you’re making a baby in missionary / Be prepared to accept them for what they’re gonna be.” ‘mars’ is an indie song about a sense of belonging, inspired by a young transgender girl he met at his show in Maryland, whose parents didn’t accept her for who she is: “Do you feel like you’re irrelevant? / Do you feel like you’re just scared as fuck?” ‘god save me, but don’t drown me out’ is a pop-rock anthem about self-acceptance: “And I won’t let my insecurities define who I am, I am / Not gonna waste my life cause I’ve been fucked up / Cause it doesn’t matter.” It’s clearly the voice of someone who’s fed up with all the boxes society tries to put us in.

‘Times will change / And you might break / But I will spend my life believing in you”, Harrison closes his second studio album. ‘the freak show’ isn’t your basic lowkey closer but rather everything Yungblud stands for, combined in just five little minutes: from a beautiful meaning and different genres to bombastic energy. It’s got it all. And with that: it’s an anthem that’s the voice of a generation dying to just be themselves.

Channeling his inner twelve personalities – who are featured on the cover – Yungblud takes on a new musical world with each track, being “the outsider” who couldn’t be more confident, whether it’s as an inner angry punker or an inner feminine girl.

While his first album, ‘21st Century Liability’, was a cry for help, in search of others like him, ‘weird!’ is about self-acceptance and refusing to conform to society’s boring typical standards. By wearing skirts, colorful make-up and making meaningful music – so basically just being his genius artistic self – Yungblud replaces any negative undertone of being “weird”.

Text by: Lien Joos

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