There’s a reason Yungblud’s latest offering is self-titled. Much of it centres around the wrestling of the young star’s inner turmoil, growing up queer; growing up like you’re on the periphery; growing up, simply, as a human being.
From the raucous opener, facing death and imagining his own funeral — admitting both the highs of egotism and the lows of self-critique (“I hate myself but that’s alright and I love myself but that’s alright”) — to the last track. ‘The Boy In The Black Dress’ concludes that the titular character was in fact Yungblud (real name Dominic Harrison), epitomising the singer’s self-aware look at his life.
Standout tracks include ‘Memories’, featuring WILLOW, who continues to flex her punk prowess (with an album of her own, <COPINGMECHANISM>, out soon). The screeching outbursts fall just the right side of catharsis, without becoming irksome — and said feature adds my favourite use of the word ‘pontificating’ in a song I can think of.
The more paired-back ‘I Cry 2’ consoles you – “It’s alright mate, I cry too” – whilst it’s subsequent ‘Sweet Heroine’ plays on the double-entendre of its title, concerning the intoxicating effects of love. That might not sound like anything new, but there’s enough there, sonically, to sound fairly original.
That aspect — whether there is in fact anything particularly new here — is certainly something that could be levelled as a fair critique. One critic laments that it’s hard to identify what era the singer’s in. But in truth, a degree of inspiration should be allowed.
And with the way this album operates, like a personal diary into Yungblud’s coming-of-age, seeing and hearing the influences of others isn’t a major drawback; it’s like seeing the posters of his heroes stuck on the walls of his bedroom or the scrapbook of his teenage diaries.
Granted, some tracks feel more like fillers than others. But even ‘Mad’ and ‘Don’t Go’ feel anthem-ready for stadiums. (This album has been released with announcement of a world tour from the singer, which kicks off in October).
As mentioned, there’s a decent circularity to this album — enough to give a sense of completion. In an age where the album format has taken a hit, it’s encouraging to want to listen to something from start to finish once.
Granted, this music might not be for older folk, its energetic delivery more suited to a younger crowd. But if it can give them just an experience of feeling heard, then I’m all for it. Three-and-a-half-stars if we did half stars (held back by its occasional samey-ness); but too expressive and cathartic to be given a mediocre three.