Mura Masa’s new album, R.Y.C, can be summed up as an ode to adolescence. Standing for ‘Raw Youth Collage’, the title encompasses its sound completely: a scrapbook of different genres and feelings that explore the ups and downs of today’s youth. And while it has Alex Crossman’s signature upbeat sound, the album’s darkness and apathy are a stark contrast to his previous self-titled success. If Mura Masa was an unforgettable drunken summer night, then R.Y.C is the hungover morning after.
At times, with songs such as ‘No Hope Generation’ and ‘vicarious living anthem’, Crossman manages to create a specific brand of pop that blends indie, rock, skate-punk and electronic pop with a classic Mura Masa danceable beat. The result is energetic, managing to hold on to the fun of dance music while at the same time maintaining an element of angst.
This patchwork effect is also reflected track by track. Vocals from artists Clairo, Tirzah, Georgia and Wolf Alice bring a prettiness and delicacy to the album. ‘Today’, for me, is the standout track: a soft, hazy, indie-pop number that deserves standalone credit. But when contrasted with the energy that Slowthai brings with ‘Deal Wiv It’, the gritty 2019 single, ‘R.Y.C’ also acts as an accurate depiction of the ups and downs of teenage life. It is so delightfully representative of British adolescence that it could be the soundtrack to Skins.
Alex Crossman, with this album, blurs the line between producer and artist, featuring his own vocals on many of the tracks. Surprisingly, he has a good voice that works alongside rather than against the sound of the album.With R.Y.C, Mura Masa has produced an album that balances dark and light perfectly, both in lyrical subject and in sound. As such, it shouldn’t be criticised for its difference to Crossman’s previous work but praised as a demonstration of artistic variety. As a conceptual album, aiming to explore the “dependency on nostalgia and regression in the wake of the often helpless feeling amongst today’s youth culture”, Mura Masa has hit the mark exactly and has succeeded in what he set out to do.