The first time I saw Young the Giant live was in the parking lot of my local mall to celebrate the grand opening of a Microsoft Store at that location. It was a sizzling afternoon during the zenith of summer, an ambulance was on the scene, and someone splashed beer on my shoes. Five years later – we’ve come so far.
Young the Giant began releasing songs mid-April from their third studio album, Home of the Strange, slated to be released August 12th. Although, bass guitarist Payam Doostzadeh teased fans on twitter hinting that he’d like to leak their album:
This era took flight April 14th when emotional single “Amerika” was broadcasted, shooting so far as Apple Music’s Best of the Week playlist. Choosing this wondrous tune was a strong choice for the Cali-based band, as its a song I imagine myself listening to on the beach with friends while we play a riveting game of introspection. There are slight winds that ascertain and carry a certain tone of contradictions between us, though at the end of the day, a common thread between all of us is the craving for a home, a sense of belonging, and to be loved – a notion the band aimed for per press release.
The next song up to the plate, “Something to Believe In” finds more adventurous roots, haunting lyrics, and a conversation between two parties to promise and prove that a given person is worth believing in. This song serves as a court case against death and against predestination. As grim as that may seem, Young the Giant’s presentation through contemporary tones and instruments is unflawed.
Apple Music chose wisely yet again when adding “Titus Was Born” to their Best of the Week playlist after its release on June 16th, due to an editor finding the album single to be “exciting” and “interesting.” The story of a man named Titus is narrated within the ballad, more so his childhood and adolescence, while he goes along trying to figure out who he is and where he belongs. Halfway through, the song takes a slight turn through the addition of stronger instrumentals. It’s the type of song that makes you feel as if anything were possible and the world will open up for you. Not to mention, it could be easily transformed into a superb children’s book.
A video for the mellow tune followed days after release, but the justified impatience of finding a platform to listen to the song left its mark on a fan:
(One could only hope the name Titus was chosen to reflect Titus Andromedon from the Netflix hit show Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.)
On July 15th, the band released track five, “Jungle Youth,” stating on Twitter that it’s about “the lust for power and its horrible entanglements that ripple forever forward. A transmission of wilderness.”
I was iffy on their fifth release, “Silvertongue.” I can’t pin-point what it was about the song that left me on the fence, even more so after watching them perform it live on Jimmy Kimmel and falling in love. (During said performance, there is a microphone with a sign that says ‘immigrant’ on it. Quite frankly, I think it was a nice touch, especially if you’re up-to-date on current events and the background of the band’s members, as well as the background of the album itself.) In fact, I’m listening to it as I type up this review! Its beats are infectious and proves that they have a ‘silver tongue’ – defined as an expression used to describe a person who has a clever way with words. If I could galavant around New York City singing this, I would.
Later that day, Spotify added it to their New Music Friday playlist updated every Friday, and Apple Music added it to their Best of the Week Playlist. Both music-based platforms know what’s good.
Each track has its own sound while still being cohesive through astute messages and eloquent lyrics. Not to mention, frontman Sameer Gadhia’s power and range of his poetic voice has the ability to nostalgically soften in “Art Exhibit,” elongate the word ‘dancefloor’ so it appears to have an abundance of syllables in “Elsewhere,” and rock in a gritty fashion in both “Jungle Youth” and the verses of “Nothing’s Over.”
In an interview with Rolling Stone Magazine, Gadhia talks about the theme of immigration and how it ties into their album. He says the title was “taken from the play on “home of the brave” – it’s the immigrants’ America.” This reflects most of all in the title track with lyrics “Land of the free / home of the strange / from shining sea to mountains grey,” amongst their demand to be given the right to “live in the moment [and] let freedom be.”
With singles and album cover art similar to their debut album, and sounds more contemporary along with their sophomore album, (but different nonetheless – although it still stays within the guidelines of their signature sound) there is no doubt in my mind that Home of the Strange is the bridge between Young the Giant’s preceding albums. With that said, this album is sure to be another distinguished effort from the Cali-based band.
Essential Tracks: “Something to Believe In” “Art Exhibit” “Repeat”