By Brien Miceli ’17,
Roughly four years after they released their first album, Young the Giant has dropped their sophomore album “Mind Over Matter” seemingly out of the blue. With three singles all released closely to their album drop and very little hype, only Young the Giant’s serious fans seemed to be aware of the album’s release. For those who don’t know Young the Giant, it is guaranteed that you’ve heard their single “My Body” from their last album in 2010, as the song peaked at number five on Billboard’s alternative list.
Young the Giant has a classic alternative rock sound similar to that of Coldplay, with the exception of the lead singer Sameer Gadhia. Gadhia has a very impressive voice akin to that of members of the Rat Pack of the 50s and 60s. They’ve made a pretty big presence on the internet with a lot of their acoustic versions of popular songs on their first album being sung in various locations in California. Originating in California, they make many west-coast references in their songs. Young the Giant sounds no different now than they did on their first album, which is a fantastic thing. Many modern bands sometimes attempt to change their sound to fit what they assume to be popular, or they sign to a record company that forces them to change their sound to fit a genre better.
Young the Giant has signed to the indie label Fueled By Ramen, and thankfully they have a lot of jurisdiction over what their sound is like. Being an indie band, they’ve garnered a lot of respect from musical sources such as Pretty Much Amazing, Pitchfork, and especially the music media giant Rolling Stone. Most of the songs including the singles “Crystallized” and “Mind Over Matter” are about young love; found, lost, and put on hold. The vocals sound very different in each song, demonstrating the range of Gadhia. He has such range that in songs such as “Daydreamer”, it sounds as if there are two people singing the song at parts.
Young the Giant’s songs are also all longer than the average alternative rock song, many of the songs being at or near five minutes long. The first half of the album is very upbeat with clear rock n’ roll influences. The single “It’s About Time”, currently the most popular song on the album, is very up-tempo with a solid rock beat and ample guitar riffs.
The first half of the album started to sound a little too indistinct as the first six songs sound fairly similar, but the album takes a very calm turn at the songs “Firelight” and “Camera”. Those songs are light on guitars and become keyboard/synth heavy, leading to a very ambient sound. However, their upbeat sound returns with “In My Home”, and from that song on, I might as well be listening to their first self-titled album. After listening to the whole thing a few times, the only song that I really found to be very catchy was “Crystallized”, but I can see potential in some of the other songs. Overall, I really appreciated this album.
I would not be surprised if you started hearing some new Young the Giant songs on popular alternative radio stations soon. They obviously have the musical talent and the backing behind them to have a grasp in pop radio that established pop artists such as Katy Perry and Pitbull have a firm control over.