Preview: Young the Giant at The Anthem

 Photo courtesy of Study Breaks Magazine.

Photo courtesy of Study Breaks Magazine.

“Mirror Master,” Young the Giant’s latest album, caused quite the rumble when it came out. The day of the release, my social media blew up with news about the album, and everywhere I looked, positive reviews were being thrown left and right. I see pictures of frontman Saneer Gadhia, complemented by beautiful edits of their last tour, retweeted, shared by fans in anticipation for their upcoming tour. Enthusiasm within the fanbase  surely hasn’t decreased since they last released “Home of the Strange.”

It’s really the right way to usher in a new era.

It is without a doubt that the members of Young the Giant have gone through some life-changing events in the past few years. Most notably, three of the members have gotten married. It’s crazy to imagine that they were only 19 and 20 year olds when they started writing their self-titled debut album, and it is obvious that the bond between the members hasn’t grown stale. Almost a decade later, they live within a mile of each other and still hang out frequently outside of their band life. Their newest music reflects the continuing maturity of their personal values, touching more on the essence of  internal struggles and what they mean and how they add to identity.

It’s not the first time Young the Giant  touched upon the concept of internal struggle and identity. “Mind Over Matter,” their second album, has internal struggle as the overarching theme of the album, as evident from the album title. “Home of the Strange” explored the values of America, what it meant to be an immigrant, and the intersection of culture and identity. “Mirror Master” is about another type of fitting in: the growth necessary to fit into oneself rather than a particular space. It revisits many of the themes presented in “Mind Over Matter,” but instead of posing those questions, “Mirror Master”  tackles them headfirst.

From their interview with Billboard:

“... this record in a lot of ways is very reflective -- [Laughs] no pun intended -- for an internal search of a person. You look at yourself in the mirror every day and you see a different version of yourself. You’re not just this static thing. You encompass everything. In order to make any change in the world, you need to be okay with yourself first and all those different characters of who you are. You see everyone putting their best foot forward on their socials and look like a different version of themselves, [but] that’s just one dimension of who they are. In reality, all of us harbor anxiety, sadness [and] depression. We want to embrace all sides of who every person is and be vulnerable in that. You are master of your own image.”

“Mirror Master,” although taking on a different perspective than the past few releases, shows no relinquishing of their iconic sound; Young the Giant does a lot with minimalism. Hip-hop and deep house beats accompany synths and guitar riffs, graced by Gadhia’s falsettos and crooning. The tracks are such pieces of work. “Oblivion” details the trajectory of a downward spiral, sending the listener deeper and deeper into disarray as Gadhia drives the point home: “Nothing is real / I really mean it / I really mean it / That’s the way I feel.” The instrumental in the back half of the song is supposed to signify the act of disappearing into oblivion, with different sounds colliding together in a cacophony. “Brother’s Keeper” and “Tightrope” are funky sounds about sullen issues like loneliness, while “Call Me Back” is a minimalistic song with the perfect pairing of house beats and verses building on each other, creating the ambience surrounding a lost connection. No doubt, Young the Giant has a great ability to harness these sentiments and make them timeless.

Their opener for the show, Lights, is a great pick. I saw her while she was touring with PVRIS, and her performances are filled with energy, never still. Her last album release, “Skin & Earth,” in 2017, was a companion score to a comic book and graphic novel that she wrote, and will soon be developed into a live-action TV adaptation. Even as she is beginning her tour with Young the Giant, she speaks of releasing an acoustic EP soon, which she usually uses to signal the end of an album era.

Lights and Young the Giant will both be playing at The Anthem on Friday, November 16.  Get your tickets to the show before it’s too late!