One of the key aspects of Yungblud’s tumultuous rise has been his ferocious work ethic. When not touring he’s writing; if he’s not in the studio he’s probably on YouTube; if he’s not popping up on viral radio moments then he’s probably giving the kind of loud, brash, unadorned interviews that fans love him for.
Put simply: he’s a grafter, is our Dom.
That’s probably made lockdown a curious time to be Yungblud – sure, he put his heart and soul into hosting his online shows, but there’s bound to be an oppressive impact associated with quarantine, the lack of shows, and the impinging of self-expression.
Following hot on the glittered heels of mini-manifesto ‘Weird!’ comes new single ‘Strawberry Lipstick’ and it’s another dose of alt-pop genre fuckery from the man fans call Yungblud. Somehow it feels more distilled, yet also more contradictory – there’s a neat Live Lounge acoustic guitar in the background, but there’s also some Nine Inch Nails level industry noise.
Above all else, though, it’s a preening slice of 21st century glam rock. Moving beyond the reaches of 2018 debut album ‘21st Century Liability’ and last year’s ‘The Underrated Youth’ EP, ‘Strawberry Lipstick’, this new single boldly unpicks the lingering psychic damage caused by growing up in a caustic heteronormative society.
Dom sings: “They tried to lock me in the closet, now I’m crawling out / Saying, fuck all the oppression and the self-doubt...”
It’s a song about breaking free, one that feels timeless and timely at the same time. Is it a coincidence that the central line - “I can’t breath...” - is something that carries connotations of George Floyd’s death? Let’s not forget how visible Yungblud was at the frontline during those huge Los Angeles protests.
Indeed, there’s more than a little trace of the US of A at work in the new single’s sonic DNA. Boasting about “toxic attitude and lack of self-control...” the song builds to a fist-pumping, stadium-filling conclusion, with Yungblud’s ragged voice screaming “take it easy on me” before breaking down into a Homeland guitar solo, all Springsteen bombast and Tom Petty cool.
A kid from Yorkshire let loose in California, Yungblud’s lockdown experience must have been incredibly contradictory – trapped from home while rebelling against its constraints, embracing the freedom of Los Angeles while protesting its injustices, it forms the perfect backdrop to confused, inspired, and ultimately anthemic new single.
‘Strawberry Lipstick’ is out on July 16th.
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