Saturday, December 16, 2017

Review: Young the Giant's 'Mind Over Matter' overcomes its weak start

There's only been one Young the Giant album before this release, yet they possess poise resembling a band boasting years of solid success. Sameer Gadhia's suave flamboyancy and powerful vocals add the flare that's necessary to make people pay attention. This refinement and cleanliness is what attracted me to Young the Giant. Okay, maybe the fact that Sameer sang R. Kelly's Ignition Remix in a sweaty tank top at their March 2012 Tampa show had something to do with it, too.

Mind Over Matter is the highly anticipated sophomore album for Young the Giant. Though many were looking forward to it, there was no hype like that surrounding Vampire Weekend's Modern Vampires of the City, for instance. Young the Giant, still in the realm of one or two mainstream radio hits, playing midsize venues and second tier headlining gigs, could finally break out fully, depending on Mind Over Matter's reception. The album begins with an airy tune, a short 46 second build up to the first song, Anagram. Without doubt, Anagram will be equivalent to the mainstream success of My Body from their first, self-titled, album, but Sameer's strong, penetrating vocals seem distant and unrecognizable here, which is disappointing considering that's what I always thought fans admired. In Anagram, Sameer and the band seem to be trying too hard to produce for the masses, and instead end up sounding like a middle schooler's favorite alt-pop rock band.

To my surprise and immense relief, it got better as I kept listening. Sameer's wandering and aromatic vocals returned in Firelight and I felt at home again.

HANNAH ELLIOTT Robinson High

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