YUNGBLUD’s debut album 21st Century Liability was a heavily cynical piece of work – a brutal look at society and all its flaws. There’s nothing wrong with staring our problems in the face like that – in fact it’s necessary – but it’s an attitude that can be exhausting to maintain and can only be productive for so long. It might serve to wake people up, but it doesn’t well provide tools for change or keep people motivated. It’s hard not to be angry, but it’s even harder to be angry all the time.
‘It’s hard not to be angry, but it’s even harder to be angry all the time.’
the underrated youth, therefore, comes as a refreshing change and proves YUNGBLUD’s impressive versatility. It starts out heavy, ‘braindead!’ is fit to burst with thrashing guitars, an intense, incessant beat, and his signature loud, borderline shouting vocals. But following track, ‘parents’, is entirely different. Twenty One Pilots-esque rock-rap and a perfectly melodic sing-a-long chorus, it is scathing in its takedown of older generations’ way of thinking but radio friendly – the contrast between sonic and lyrical tone make it feel like both an anthem and a battle cry.
‘original me’ features Imagine Dragons front man Dan Reynolds who brings with him the slicker, shinier arena rock sound of his own band. It’s coupled with YUNGBLUD’s most vulnerable lyrics to date, a candid insight into days when he wakes up and “wish[es] [he] was anyone else” – a feeling that will resonate with all who listen.
The EP’s stand-out track, though, comes in the form of ‘casual sabotage’ – an angsty ode to being a “messed up kid” that will make for some gorgeous ‘lighters/phones in the air sing-a-long moments’ at the singer’s upcoming shows.
It’s an eclectic mix of sounds, punctuated by the album’s acoustic closer ‘waiting on the weekend’, but running through the EP is a new hint of optimism. It recognises where society is failing, and honours the pains and difficulties of existing within it – but YUNGBLUD doesn’t let it overwhelm anymore. There is a sense that there is hope for the underrated youth, after all.