Artist of the Week: Youth Lagoon

Seatbelts everyone! A normal field trip? No, it’s time for a nostalgia trip. Not in the sense that you’ve listened to Youth Lagoon long ago, but in the sense that his music invokes such a sense of nostalgia that it feels like your childhood is singing directly to you. Yeah, you know the opening? I kind of lied. It’s only really Youth Lagoon’s first album. Released in 2011, “Year of Hibernation” makes me want to go back, back to a time when there wasn’t the stress of school, work and family. I want to be running around my backyard with my old friends, without a care in the world. It’s no doubt his best album.
In 2013, he released his second album, “Wondrous Bughouse.” This experimental Indie-pop album could bring a tear to the eyes of those deepest within the scene. The music is a weird mix of sounds that shouldn’t work together but mesh rather coherently.
In 2014, he released one single, “Worms.” Then, in 2015, he released three more, “The Knower,” “Highway Patrol Stun Gun” and finally, “Rotten Human.” This culminated in the release of his third, and final, album “Savage Hills Ballroom.” The album followed the more refined course of “Wondrous Bughouse” and was more similar to what he’d do in the future.
He ended the year, and his career, with the single, “I’ve Seen.”
But wait! There’s more! In 2018, he began producing under his own name, Trevor Powers. He released the singles “Playwright,” “Ache” and “Plaster Saint.” Finally, he released a new album, “Mulberry Violence.” To say the album is similar to “Savage Hills Ballroom” would be highly inaccurate. “Mulberry Violence” is in a similar vein but is better produced as well as a little more experimental.
And of course, on to the top five. And boy, was this list hard to put together.
“Doll’s Estate” is the closest Youth Lagoon got to fully merging the styles of his first two albums. First and foremost, it’s a piano piece, with a light, reflective loop playing throughout the tune. Slowly but surely, electronic static-esque noises join in creating an almost somber finale.
“Playwright” acts as Trevor’s triumphant return. It’s like a love letter to fans of Youth Lagoon; assuring them that though Youth Lagoon is, Trevor isn’t. There’ll be changes, but this is the direction he needs to take to keep making music.
Number three would have to go to “17.” It’s the first song that I heard by Youth Lagoon, and it really stuck. It’s a good listen when you’re feeling down if you just want to reminisce a bit, thinking back to better times. I would recommend it for walks in the rain.
Can I just recommend all of “The Year of Hibernation?” No? Okay then, “Cannons.” And I’ve got three words to describe it; High School Love. It just exudes that feeling, and its semi-playful lyrics help push that theme wonderfully. It almost makes me want to re-experience high school. Almost.
And finally, “Posters.” Not quite sure what it is, but something about this song just makes me want to cry. Maybe it’s the line, “You make real friends quickly, but not me,” or how the song feels lonely. Or maybe the hopeful instrumental at the end. Or maybe it’s reliving the painful road to self-discovery that permeates the song. Any way, it’s well worth the listen.
But wait! There’s even more! Last week, Glass Animals released a new single, “Your Love (Déjà Vu),” from their upcoming album. The song is a whole bop. It’s about abusive relationships and how you can’t seem to stop coming back (hence déjà vu) and that eventually you just need to cut the person off.
And that’s all for this week. As always, send feedback and criticism to [email protected], and I’ll see you all next time.