Young the Giant and that patented Millennial sound

It’s midnight last Saturday and I’m at a friend’s place playing board games when my phone vibrates. At first I don’t give it a second though, between all the useless emails and unimportant Slack messages I get on a daily bases it’s probably something that could wait a few minutes, besides it’s Saturday night. Eventually, In-between rounds I take a casual look at my phone and my mind begins to race. The free tickets for this month were posted and I am late to the party. Most everything has been claimed, but Luckily there was still a ticket left to one of the biggest concerts this month, Young the Giant and through what must have been some form of divine intervention I was able to snag a ticket.

I’m not a big Young the Giant fan and definitely couldn’t name many of their songs outside their hits. However, for me, as with a lot of people my age, Young the Giant helped to create our sound. Young the Giant’s single My Body came out when I was just entering High School and it was like nothing I had ever heard. The spacey guitar, grooving rhythm, and introspective vocals about the soul were so different from everything else at the time. It was a part of the first wave of 2010s indie bands to hit the mainstream. With their hit singles Bands like FUN., Foster the People, and Young the Giant opened the doors to a new sound that has come to reflect a huge segment of this generation. Late night car rides, laughter, heartbreak, and everything happened as their songs played in the background, because of that any of them are worth seeing when they come to town.

At a time where mainstream music was ruled by pop artist like Ke$ha, Rihanna, and 3OH!3 Bands like Young the Giant offered to the masses a completely different sound. Which in a time where most of us still either payed for music or listened to it on the radio was a big deal. Growing up, it seemed like mainstream music had a lot to do with partying and sex. But Young the Giant and their single my Body did something different, something with meat. Their music had slow points, soft points, loud points, and fast points it was dynamic. The lyrics went beyond the crust, diving into intense introspection by conveying layers of emotion. Songs like My Body and Cough Syrup gave the listener more to think about than a song like Ke$ha’s Tic Toc or Like a G6 by Free Wired. They were personal, touching on real life problems and showed that band the created them was not just a group of bad asses but rather just people.

I hear the complaint that all indie music sounds the same few a lot. That they all start with a synthesizer, have similar lyrics, or the same composition and on occasion I even agree. However, the farther we get from that day in 2010 when I first bought Foster the People’s Pumped Up Kicks the more grateful I am that I did. For all of its quirks, condescension, and pomp indie gave me something that I didn’t look for 7 years ago, depth. That’s why I rushed to grab tickets to see Young the Giant this weekend, it gives me a chance to reflect on that and also some amazing musicians live. See you there.

 

 

 

 

You can grab tickets to Young the Giant here: http://www.thecomplexslc.com/event-1258.htm

Green Day – Revolution Radio

It has a been a hot minute since we have heard anything from the Pop Punk staple Green Day. The ¡Uno! ¡Dos! ¡Tré! trilogy, the band last project was released in 2014 and was surprisingly forgettable for a Band that is know for creating life altering foot tapping Punk Jams. Since then the band has appeared to be in turmoil with the announcement of a break after their last tour. With the band’s Front-man Billie Joe Armstrong going to rehab for substance abuse some wondered it they would be calling it quits.Image result for green day However, they are back delivering an album that Armstrong says is about “the culture of mass shooting that happens in America mixed with narcissistic social media.”

The opening track Somewhere Now eases us into Armstrong troubled mind with the opening lyrics “I’m on way to somewhere Now/ I don’t want to be/ Where the future and promises/ Ain’t what it used to be.” Then the power chords kick in and unfortunately Green Day delivers a formulaic and uninspired pop punk performance. Every track delivers nothing new and lacks the punch of their earlier work while struggling to find the heart that has become their signature.

The title track Revolution Radio tackles Armstrong’s concerns about the  recently developed culture of mass shooting in America. He attacks the problem as angry protester unsure of the solution “Scream with your hands up in the sky/like you want tImage result for revolution radioo testify/For the life that’s been deleted/Sing like a rebel’s lullaby/Under the stars and stripes/For the lost souls that were cheated.” While this track is classic Green Day what it lacks is what the whole album lacks something new. There is not a lot of true substance, in its place are lyrics that barely could be considered criticism and the same chord progression we have heard Green Day use for years.

Still Breathing is my favorite song off the album and it possibly the most sincere song on this record. Armstrong praises that somehow he is still breathing stating “I’m like an ambulance that’s turning on the sirens/Oh, I’m still alive” tapping into the raw emotion that only a punk rocker who has finally kicked his substance abuse problem can. Yet it highlights the exact problem the rest of the album Image result for revolution radiohas, behind the entrancing pop punk rhythms, and seemingly relevant lyrics lies little substance. Songs like Outlaws, Forever Now, and Young Blood might sound good initially they lack the hall mark of great punk songs emotional resonance.

Revolution Radio is not a return to form for Green Day, rather it is more of an evolution. They are no longer a bunch of young punks kicking and screaming about the neuroses and politics, that much is clear. Revolution Radio shows a level of maturity from the band, asking their listeners just how dark the world around us is theses days, and is there a clear solution? While that sounds like an epic idea for an album Green Day cannot convert that into anything meaningful. Revolution Radio’s problem is not that it is a bad pop punk album, it has catchy lyrics and chord progressions, its problem is that it lacks the substance required to be even a noteworthy album, go listen to Jeff Rostenstock’s Worry instead.