Young the Giant released their sophomore attempt “Mind over Matter” on Tuesday, Jan. 21. Unfortunately, the album did not prove to be anything more than just that. While the tracks were completely adequate in sound and melody, none of them stood out as markedly impressive, which is unusual for the band. To be fair, their first album, “Young The Giant,” was an extremely tough album to beat, as most every track within it was a standalone hit. However, it almost seemed as though Young the Giant tried too hard to focus on the philosophy of “Mind Over Matter,” rather than the songs themselves.
This being said, the album did have a few notable tracks. The title track, “Mind Over Matter” harkened back to the band’s earlier efforts, with solid lyrics and a melody that highlighted Sameer Gadhia’s wonderful vocals. “Anagram” kept the guitar work simple and played a bit with Gadhia’s range, which was a risk that paid off to create a breezy summer hit. “Eros” stood alone with a similar structure and added an edge with lyrics suggesting the end of a relationship. Again, the track was not all that memorable, but did succeed in mild catchiness.
My biggest complaint about the album is that the guitar work sounds so similar in so many of the tracks. For a band whose guitar and vocals have often been the leading reasons for their success, it was disappointing to see an album that did not attempt to expand on the former.
Furthermore, after two years, I expected a far more diverse album than what was delivered. Tracks like “It’s About Time” were so subpar that it almost felt as though the band had given up. “Teachers” was in no way memorable except for the fact that Gadhia actually managed to make his voice sound unappealing for bits of the track, something that I thought was impossible. “Crystallized” sounded like every generic alternative pop song blended together, with Gadhia’s voice barely saving it from being a true travesty. “In My Home” sounded just the same as “Crystallized” and, frankly, “Mind Over Matter.” In fact, most of the rest of the tracks sounded like slight variations of each other.
Perhaps if it was summer and I could listen to this album with my car windows down, I’d be able to look at the album in a different way. However, the fact is that this album does not live up to Young the Giant’s debut. Even the notable tracks are not memorable, and while the lyrics, melodies and vocals are perfectly adequate, none are strong enough to make up for the others. From a band that showed so much promise, this is without doubt a disappointment.
That being said, this is their second album. A sophomore flop is one of the most common setbacks a band faces during their career and, unfortunately, it seems that Young the Giant was unable to avoid it. However, this minor setback in no way invalidates their potential. I have full faith that Young the Giant will recover and come out with a stand-out third album that trumps everything else they’ve done with pure musical excellence.