Our first encounter with Yungblud was quite an experience, to say the least. From the moment this curious character jumped on stage with his flashy pink socks, we knew we were onto something.
At first sight, the young singer appears as the living form of post-teenage rebellion and insolence. He’s provocative and it’s almost disturbing. His excitement can be too much to handle for some of the tired grown-ups in the audience, yet, what he was doing caught everyone’s attention. Of course, it’s everyone’s dream to become a rock star and it’s also easy to classify Yungblud as “just another one of them”. Another hyped up rockstar wannabe, who the mainstream media already cites as “the future”. The truth is that the twenty-year-old doesn’t care about the hype. He is committed to deliver his message and connect with people of his generation. In fact, Yungblud believes that youth culture currently has the power to make a change. The performer aims to help people speak up and say what they think, but where does it leave us with the music?
At the crossroads between the genres
Dominic Harrison, aka Yungblud is a 20-year-old English young man from Doncaster, in England. After briefly transiting through the Disney UK team, as an actor and a musician, his debut EP as Yungblud came out in January 2018. The record is basically rock music that hopefully will make you want to put your dancing shoes on and sweat. At the crossroads between old classic punk and modern hip-hop, with a pinch of pop and ska, it is obvious that Harrison and his band draw influences predominantly from British rock and current pop music. Something that the singer isn’t afraid to claim. He cites Lorde, Dua Lipa, and Camila Cabello as his current biggest inspirations. In fact, he describes them as “leaders for female empowerment” in modern youth culture. He’s got this outburst of emotion and anger within him that he screams out loud through music, bringing up subjects he believes need to be tackled, in order for society to do something about it.
It’s also worth diving into the lyrics. While many of his peers sing about heartbreaks and parties, Yungblud deals with issues that can be easily overlooked and makes the experience of listening to his words unexpectedly eye-opening. Drawing from his own experiences, he wrote songs such as King Charles and Tin Pan Boy, which denounce the abusive system where those in power rob the average population, through vileness.
“This is the only way we can make it stop”
It also brings us to songs like Polygraph Eyes. The story of a girl, who’s being taken advantage of, after a drunken night out with her (male) friend. “Leave it alone mate, she doesn’t want to go home with ya, no”, grinds Yungblud, as melancholic string sections come into play. If this song is musically beautiful, Harrison aims for it to be empowering. It’s important, in today’s society, to remember that these wrongs we barely pay attention to exist and remain unpunished. In this regard, it is appreciable to see that influential artists of this age use their voices to raise awareness of these issues. “This is the only way we can make it stop”, declares Yungblud. And in fact, looking at the unprecedented wave of denunciations and mobilizations amongst the youth in the past year, there is hope that this generation may succeed where the one before us failed.
It’s not “cool” to just say fuck to our society. It’s cool to emphasize what’s wrong with it and Yungblud represents well the spirit. That’s also what surfaces from the band’s live performances, where you finally understand that these tracks are crafted for the stage. Finding the most comfort performing live, the 3-piece make Yungblud‘s insolence quite satisfying. It’s raw and energetic, even irritating but it is somewhat reminiscent of punks of the seventies such as The Clash (another big influence of Harrison’s.)
Yungblud brings up to date modern British rock and it is refreshing, in a world where rock’n’roll tends to become empty and uninspiring. It adds at the same time a feeling of nostalgia because only very few artists sound like this, nowadays. Even though sometimes the genre-bending aspect of the music can be disconcerting, the modernity Yungblud adds to otherwise vintage(y) sounds gives some more significance to the music.
Words : Jeb B. // Mary B.