Alternative | Pop Punk
To put into perspective just how much I have been anticipating the sophomore studio album from YUNGBLUD, I literally spent every week of November checking my release radar for any sign of its release, only to remember that the 4th of December was when weird! would finally be upon us.
I have enjoyed listening to YUNGBLUD’s music ever since discovering the standalone 2019 single “Loner”. But where I felt became the real selling point for me was his feature on Machine Gun Kelly’s “I Think I’m OKAY”, which became one of my favourite singles of 2019.
Especially in 2020, I have come to appreciate YUNGBLUD as somebody who really channels the hearts of his audience, along with somebody who I reckon I would be quite similar to if I were an artist myself.
Firstly teased by what would become the title track of this album, weird! would begin to shape up as a very promising and exciting album prior to it’s release, and YUNGBLUD would become more and more of a beacon of hope for today’s generation with each teaser he released. Most notably, I’ve spoken before about how much I loved the sentiment behind “mars”. And how could we forget his feature on the phenomenal Bring Me The Horizon banger “OBEY”.
But the time had finally arrived for me to dive in to this album, and my hopes were indeed very high.
As if the teaser tracks didn’t show this enough for some listeners, weird! displays a tonne of stylistic versatility, which blend his punk-rap style, which is most rife on his debut album 21st Century Liability, with elements of indie pop, traditional punk, and even shades of My Chemical Romance on the albums opener and closer. YUNGBLUD ingeniously justifies this sense of versatility further with the many characters that YUNGBLUD portrays, who reflect his ideology that we all have many different personalities waiting to be embraced, and most of which can be seen on the album cover.
In my mind, this automatically gave weird! an exciting and memorable quality that allows it to be more than just another musical project; it it instead a in-depth look into the mind, hopes and ambitions of YUNGBLUD, as well as a beacon of encouragement for those who feel like they are not truly themselves to do the same.
In a similar vein to Rina Sawayama’s SAWAYAMA, this sentiment definitely connected with me on a personal level. I’ve mentioned before how YUNGBLUD is essentially my spirit artist, and weird! is a perfect way for people to find out why that is.
But thankfully, weird! doesn’t take itself too seriously, as to rely too heavily on sentimentality. While at one minute, you’re listening to the heart-lifting anthem that is “god save me, but don’t drown me out”, and the next you’re listening to the fun, festival-ready banger that is “ice cream man”. This difference in moods, but consistency in the way that every track caters to YUNGBLUD’s diverse audience, makes it an enjoyable project at almost every turn…almost.
From tracks 1 through to 10, I would confidently say that weird! is absolute 10/10 material. But with my critical cap on, I couldn’t deny the feeling that YUNGBLUD very slightly stumbles towards the very end, with a few tracks that, while not plainly unenjoyable, felt more repetitive than I would’ve liked.
I really wanted to like “acting like that”, considering that Machine Gun Kelly returns the favour for the aforementioned collaboration that I loved, but i didn’t get nearly as much of an impact from this track. As for the penultimate track “it’s quiet in beverly hills”, I could at least appreciate the intimacy of it’s acoustic instrumental, but I felt that there are better tracks on this album that fill that role at least a little bit.
Thankfully, the album finds its footing again with the final track “the freak show”, which has grown on me phenomenally since the first listen.
The final elephant in the room that weird! has is the absence of “Lemonade” a track that YUNGBLUD had released with the help of Denzel Curry, within the period of this album being teased. It took me by surprise that it wasn’t on here, but at the end of the day I feel that its inclusion would neither have added to, or detracted from my experience of this album all that much.
But with my very minor nit-picks out of the way, weird! is still a phenomenal album, and a vast improvement in both musical versatility and self-realisation, from YUNGBLUD’s debut record. It most certainly serves as further proof, that this artist is on his way to defining a generation of listeners.
Favourite Tracks: mars | god save me, but don’t drown me out | ice cream man | weird!
Least Favourite Track: acting like that
Locomotion Recordings | Interscope Records