Yungblud's second album Weird! came out last night. Now that all the songs are in the world, I had to give my immediate reactions and dig into the meaning behind each of them. Also added my current favorite lyrics for fun. A full reaction video will be up on Youtube on Monday, but I wanted to make something Weird! related before then. I also included a drawing I did of Yungblud and put up on my Instagram, so if you want to see more of that (and maybe follow!) here's a link. Anyway, I loved the album so so much, and if you have thoughts on the album, let me know in the comments!
This is such an incredible, cinematic album opener. I'd heard it as the closing track for the show three times, and it had sounded better each time. In the live ones, the energy at the end sometimes overpowered the delicate balance of the song, but on the studio version, the dynamics are perfectly controlled to up the emotional intensity with each repetition. It gets loud and triumphant and then quiet and resigned. It's so beautiful. Heartbreaking yet almost like an anthem. There are so many tiny nuances in the production. It truly plays to the lyrics so well, and it must be listened to through headphones to capture the amazing panning that happens.
Speaking with Apple Music, Yungblud shared that, like most songs on Weird! it was first inspired by a fan story. The girl told Yungblud at a show about her boyfriend who had passed away. "I wanted to write a song about this girl and her boyfriend being being on the other side, watching over her. But there was also a resemblance between me and my fanbase- that no matter what happens to us, we're always looking out for each other". He went on to talk about how the song features four different tempo changes, starting soft and then going Beatles inspired and segueing into Queen.
Writers: Yungblud, Chris Greatti, Zakk Cervini, Omer Fedi
Teresa I'm sorry that they stole your heart
They're always gonna see through ya/They're gonna try take your heart/But they can't, no they can't
The way life taught us we were make-believe/Keeps us together
As long as I watch over you/We don't need to run
This is the fun pop song of the album for sure! When I listened to it on the album last night, it felt all weird and sped up cause I hadn't listened to the album version in so long. I usually put on the acoustic version and I've seen the live a lot. While the song wasn't my favorite at first, it's majorly grown on me, and I love the iconic angel outfit from the many performances. When the song came out, he said that the song was about, "Sex and sexuality is about freedom and the idea that you can to lose yourself in other people of all genders, of all shapes and sizes, to find yourself and figure out who you truly are". It continues to carry his longstanding message of inclusion, and the self discovery aspect reminds me of "Lights Up". To Apple Music, he also added, "It’s like the most bubblegum YUNGBLUD song ever, but it’s naughty. It was written and produced in three hours".
Also, as a fun cross over, Julia Michaels wrote on this song with her songwriting partner Justin Tranter (probably most well known for writing for Selena Gomez on tracks like "Lose You To Love Me"). I love Julia's solo work, so I get excited when I see her working with artists I love.
Writers: Chris Greatti, Omer Fedi, Julia Michaels, Justin Tranter, and Yungblud.
On the low, I get vertigo from body overdose
So tell me your name, tell me your problems/I got the same
I figured out that the modern world is/Turning wrong way 'round
"strawberry lipstick" was the second single from Weird! and is one of the loudest, most aggressive song on the album. While I can get into it now, it's not a song I listen to much. It was fun to revisit it on the album, especially since its signed and kissed poster is on my wall. Talking about the song to Apple Music, he shared, "The opening of this song says, ‘This is a song about a person I love.’ It’s talking about yourself. I fucking hated myself when I wrote that song. I was fighting with people about my sound. And I was like, ‘All right. You want to fucking normalize me? I’m going to dye my hair red, I’m going to write a fucking punk song, and I’m going to wear a Union Jack dress on its cover.’" The song was written while he was stuck in LA and missing home.
Writers: Zakk Cervini, Josh McClorey, Chris Greatti, and Yungblud
I've got a toxic attitude and lack of self-control/A reasonably fucked up individual
I can't see straight, ten seconds past five o'clock
This is in the trifecta of the most beautiful, moving songs on the album. Again, it came from a fan story. A fan told him about how she'd saved up for a while to get her parents to a Yungblud show because she thought that if they could see the show, they would understand and accept her as trans. Yungblud continued to say that her parents saw the passion and energy in the room and how everyone was undeniably themselves, and they finally started to understand. I absolutely love this backstory. The song was my favorite of the new ones he played at the live shows before I knew the backstory. It's so powerful that the song is both about acceptance and about the power of music and how it can truly change lives in so many ways. As for what happened to the girl who told him the story- Yungblud doesn't even know. He told Apple Music, " I can’t find her, and I don’t know if I want to. My dream is to go to Maryland one day and play some arena. I’ll know it’s about her, she’ll know it’s about her, but no one else does. And that’s just the most magic thing in the world." There's something beautiful in that. There aren't many stories that end in not being able to find someone in 2020, and that mystery, almost a secret of sorts, just adds to the beauty behind the song.
As for the musical inspiration, he told Metro in 2019 that he was reminded of "Life on Mars?" by David Bowie by a trans man he met at a show and that paying homage to the song became its backbone. The video, apparently, also majorly plays on Bowie's work (which I know because my dad pointed out and made me watch Bowie's version). In the caption for the video he said, "i loved directing this video for it is about all of us. from racial inequality to oppression against the lgbtqia+ community to transphobia, climate change denial and beyond. we, us, our generation are going to be the ones to change it," broadening the meaning to be both about the trans community that inspired the song and other people looking for solace and community.
Full song review: Here.
Writers: Yungblud & Matt Schwartz
"She was only seventeen, had the saddest pair of eyes that you've ever seen"
"She dreamed she'd go to California/There everyone would adore her"
"And all her mates would call her/Till 4 in the morning"
"Every morning she would wake up with another plan"
"Yeah this story told too many times, it makes me sad"
Do you feel like you're irrelevant... Do you feel like you're just scared as fuck".
"Is there any life on Mars"
This is probably my least favorite song on the album. I really struggle with the sound of it. The melody of the chorus is great, and I love its sound, but the yelling and clashing sounds is honestly overwhelming. I'm sure it'll grow on me like "Strawberry Lipstick", but off the bat, I really can't get into it. It starts with almost siren noises and is so abrupt. It's sounding better this morning, but it's just not my style. I do like the message & I really love the pre-chorus. He told Apple Music, "I wanted this to feel like the Beastie Boys meets Happy Mondays," about the style and, "The song is about drugs and about losing my peers to drugs. I’m not going to be naïve and tell people not to take drugs. But it’s just a song about doing it safely, because the high ain’t worth losing your life or a friend. It’s a song about wanting to escape. Be free, have fun, let loose—but do it with caution," as the message.
Writers: Yungblud, Chris Greatti, Zakk Cervini
I want to be in a world where I/Can be who I am without having to try
It's time to take a look at the world through our eyes
It's too late for you to die young
This is in my top 3 on the album. It's one of my favorites. Last night, it totally caught me off guard and made me cry. I wasn't expecting that, and I don't typically cry, but the way the song unfolded spoke to my worst fears about myself and how relationships will go. It's such a simple, beautiful song with pretty guitar backing. It's just a perfect song. At some point, I am going to have to write a line by line analysis of the whole song and how it builds and evolves. And my conspiracy that this song is related to some Manic songs, specifically "Finally//Beautiful Stranger". I mean, you can't expect me to not go there when you make an Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless mind reference. Regardless, this song is amazing. It made me cry. It's the winner.
Talking to Apple Music, Yungblud said, "The first YUNGBLUD love song. I don’t say this very often, but I had a lot of violence in my house growing up. I was always very loved as a kid, but my idea of love—and what it meant to fall in love—got skewed. It was like, ‘If this is love, fuck that shit. I’m going to be all right on my own, thank you very much.’ But then I met someone and I fell in love and I realized I’d never been more wrong in my life. I learned so much—she was incredible and we were incredible together. But I didn’t just want to write a song about falling in love or being heartbroken, because no one can prepare you for the pain of heartbreak. It’s about falling in and out of love—with your arms open."
Writers: Yungblud, Justin Tranter, Chris Greatti, Mike Crossey, Ben Jackson
All I learned growing up was that love chewed me up/Spit me out on the pavement next to the cuts
Sweetheart, you are changing my mind
Nobody taught me how to love myself/So how can I love somebody else
I'm so new to this/I swear that I'm doing my best
Standing there, you look at me/Understanding everything/Yeah, it's so fascinating
You patch up the blood and the cuts/But our blood got mixed up/So I guess we belong to each other
But you shine so bright in a spotless mind/Someone gets left behind
god save me, but don't drown me out
This was one of my early favorites from the singles. It's a true anthem, and it has one of the best music videos of the Weird! era. It's the embodiment of being the outcast, being put down and lost and scared, and then not giving up because you owe it to yourself to stay true and keep going.
Talking to Apple Music, Yungblud talked about how this song came to be, "I wrote this in June 2020, at 4 am. We were in the studio doing finishing touches before playing the album to my label the next day. I could feel about nine months of bottled emotion crawling up my back". Reflecting what the song did for him, he added, "And I went in the booth to record and I just started crying my eyes out. I grew up two years in about 20 minutes." Most of his point was that he needed saving, but he knew he needed to show up and save himself.
Writers: Zakk Cervini, Chris Greatti, Yungblud
Not gonna waste my life cause I've been fucked up
Cause there's so much pressure on my fucking brain
ice cream man
"ice cream man" is another song I heard early because of the shows. The way he sings it live, it's so loud and aggressive, I couldn't really catch all the lyrics. I can hear them crystal clear on the track. Though it's louder, I really enjoy it, and he makes plenty of points. This reminds me most of his older albums both in subject and in style. Fittingly, this song has been around for a while. He told Apple Music, "This is a song that I’ve been playing on the road for two years, that I wrote for a little bit of fun." He continued by talking about how the song is just fully about being himself, even if it's hard for those in the tiny small town he came from. He added, "‘I’m going to be my cross-dressing, lipstick-wearing self, even if it fucking kills you.’ I’m not literally talking about marrying my cousin, obviously. But we may as well all be cousins, because we’ve been here in the same fucking village for the past 100 years."
Writers: Yungblud & Matt Schwartz
They think that I hate them/Because I haven't sent 'em a text in 3 days
Laying on a concrete bench/Trying to rid my head of the cobwebs
You are just an ice cream man/Take my dreams and get them banned
I've got bumper cars inside my chest that don't hold back
I won't ever be like the others/Hate myself and marry my cousin
"weird" is the song that got me into Yungblud's music, way back at the start of quarantine. Halsey put something about it on her stories, and I decided to check him out finally, and I totally fell for his music. Even with the whole album, it's still one of my favorite songs. It so perfectly encapsulates this year, and it genuinely makes me feel more okay. He told Apple Music, "Almost everything I’ve said here, in one song. It’s about trying to catch smoke and feeling like the floor’s going to move under you. And it has one of the most emotional lines on the album—‘I want luck. I want love. Sharing earphones on the bus, and wake up next to you in Glasgow.’" That particularly line is one of my favorites that I've ever heard in a song. Also, in the official Genius annotation he said, "it’s about shutting your yourself off from the world and staying in bed because you’re scared of what everyone else is gonna say. Its about supressing a part of your life or a parts of yourself in fear of getting critiqued by it." I definitely relate to that.
Writers: Matt Schwartz and Yungblud
I can't sleep at this time/I got Jesus on my mind/And everybody seems to like him
I can't think/I can't lie/I feel anxious all the time/And if I smiled I would be lying
Only those who are asleep don't make mistakes, get no critique
I want luck/I want love/Sharing earphones on the bus/And wake up next to you in Glasgow
And say fuck the friends who leave when you are sinking
Don't wreck your brain, it'll be all right/We're in a weird time of life
"Charity" has such a cool sound to it. I don't quite get the meaning of it as much as the others right off the bat, but like "ice cream man" it sounds so classic Yungblud. While it's not one of my favorites, it's a lot of fun, and he makes some points. I was also really caught off guard by how the last bit progressed and clicked into the "donate my brains to charity" line in a fascinating, dark way. Talking about it on Apple Music, Yungblud said, "Again, I wanted to make a song about being yourself. But I also wanted to make a song where I could pretend I was in every band I want to be in. I wanted to be Mike Skinner or Liam Gallagher or Lily Allen."
Writers: Chris Greatti, Zakk Cervini, Yungblud
So I'm lost in the supermarket shopping for my sense of self
So I made myself sad 'cause I feel comfortable here
To be off the rails is to live without fear/But when you start feeling nothing, nothing becomes clear
So please speak, please laugh, please dance, please cry/Feel every fuckin tear that falls from your eye
Cause to feel is to breathe and to fear is to be free/And to be free is what it means to be successful to me
it's quiet in beverly hills
This song rounds out the ones that I love, love, love from the album. It was played live too just on the acoustic guitar, and I fell in love. It also has a similar melodic structure to "weird". It's just such a pretty, sad song. And one of the better dissections of LA culture I've seen. It's a song about losing yourself to find yourself again as he notes in the Apple Music notes, "I didn’t really think, ‘I’m going to do an acoustic song.’ I was in Hollywood, and I’m so English—I like Yorkshire tea and Hobnobs and I want people to tell the truth. But I just got caught up in Hollywood bollocks and in the paparazzi and the game that everyone plays to try and top each other. And I was like, I don’t want to do this. I got into music to build a community. And now I’m stood with a load of wankers talking about how their songs did last week on the radio chart. I was surrounding myself with friends who weren’t really my friends, and I got lost. When I say, ‘I will love you for the rest of my life until you close your eyes for good,’ I’m talking to my fanbase. Because they pull me out every time." LA wants to make people they're not.
Writers: Yungblud & Matt Schwartz
I'm sat inside a goldfish tank/Where people fix themselves with rubber bands
I love you all of my life/Until you close your eyes for good.
See, I got friends who fuck their friends and play pretend/So they can dream again
And when what you see is make-believe/You pride yourself on who you fail to be
the freak show
This is a whole musical theater piece in a closing track. It also feels like 5 songs that keep evolving and morphing into each other. It's such a wild ride, and it gives a sample of each bit of the album. He acknowledges that in the Apple Music notes, remarking that it's a self-indulgent ending purely for himself. "This was like, ‘OK, I’ve given you an album, now I’m going to do something for myself.’ I wanted a ‘Bohemian Rhapsody.’ There are four key changes, five time changes, and a big, dramatic ending. It’s every YUNGBLUD song squeezed into one. And it literally goes from a minor verse to a major chorus, it goes minor in the middle, then back to major, then back to minor again. Towards the end of the song, there is a line that says, ‘Times will change and you might break.’ I recorded it with no music—just to a click track. And I said, ‘Build on top of that. If the music tops my passion, I’ll record it again. But I dare you to try and top the passion of that vocal take.’ This song is a message to my fanbase. Times will change and you might break, but I will spend the rest of my life believing in you." I wasn't sure of it at first, but I've come to really enjoy it. Yungblud does a good job in so many songs of saying "I believe in you, even when you're a wreck and it's hard" without being cheesy.
Writers: Yungblud, Matt Schwartz, Chris Greatti, and Zakk Cervini
Get messed up and depressed with my friends
Take myself out of my suppressed head
See, I've been hurt ten times before/I've hurt myself and so much more
See, everybody wants to be a little like us/But they don't understand all the things we've done
They will try to change you because they are so afraid of you
So welcome to the freak show/I hope you find yourself today
Cause faux plastic dolls/With their hands and their ribbons/Will strangle us all/And they'll be forgiven
See everybody wants to be a little like them/But they don't understand how it will end
Times will change/And you might break/But we'll go on, go on, I believe it
Times will change/And you might break/But I will spend my life believing in you
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