In 2011, LA based quintet Young the Giant rocked the Alternative/ Indie music world with their first album, a self titled collection of songs, and has continued to release albums almost yearly since their debut. Their most recent LP, Mirror Master, released on October 12th of this year, is comprised of 44 minutes and 12 tracks of pure musical enjoyment. On each of the songs in this album, the artists combine several artistic elements to create an amazing soundscape base, upon which they are able to build their soul-exposing lyrics for a unique listening experience. Each track takes listeners on a new journey, with twists and turns that surprise you even when you think you know where the song is going. The songs on the album, presumably as a nod to the album’s title, are very introspective and it seems as though the band, as a whole, has taken a look into the mirror of their lives.
What we get from the group’s introspection on this album is a collection of alt rock songs with pop-esque hooks, songs that appeal to a wide range of audiences. While I am a fan of Young The Giant, especially the work of front runner Sameer Gadhia, this album is not my favorite of theirs. I believe that this album, while very adventurous & enjoyable, lacks a bit of the originality that devoted fans of the band expect. Mirror Master, unlike the group’s other releases, seems to be working more toward the pop side of music, by following many of the music world’s cues as to what a successful and popular song is nowadays. Although this album may be moving in a more mainstream direction than usual for the band, they still do it in a unique way that helps them stay true to their musical integrity.
The primary subject matter of the lyrics is self reflection and introspection. Key tracks, such as “Brother’s Keeper” and “Heat of the summer”, are musically vibrant hits with lyrics that speak about self reflection on a deeper level. The album consists of a wide range of song types, with slower pieces where the listener can truly zone out, enjoy the music, and reflect on the lyrics of the song, such as “You + I”, “Glory”, and “Darkest Shade of Blue”.
A key track on the album, “Glory”, features almost jarringly deep and abstract lyrics, such as “I am a sinner of a broken of church” and “Takes a lifetime to break all the chains that cut the hardest”. While the album does have slower, more chill tracks, it also has pieces that will truly make listeners want to get up and dance. Two songs that are upbeat and dance – worthy are “Superposition” and “Mirror Master”. These tracks showcase the old sounds and lyrics of Young the Giant that their fan base is used to, while creatively and uniquely adding in new sound and variety.
If it was possible to put the songs on this album into different categories based on their characteristics, the three categories would be “dance songs”, “reflection songs”, and “narrative songs”. Many of the songs fall into multiple categories, as they can be both reflective and narrative, such as “You + I”, or they could be both reflective and dance worthy songs, such as “Superposition”. No matter what listeners are looking for in a song and no matter what mood they’re in, there is something for everyone on Mirror Master.
Overall, this album was easy to love and it isn’t hard to see why. The album consists of many hit pieces: so many, in fact, that it was hard not to list every song on the album as key tracks. There are songs on this album to please any listener. From someone in a sad mood, to someone looking for another track to add to their dance party playlist, no one can go wrong with Mirror Master. Young the Giant, by adventuring into the realm of pop with a unique and adventurous approach, has surprised listeners once again. By taking a look into the mirror, and reflecting on their music and its message, the band has been able to produce another hit album. Congratulations to you, Young the Giant, on great fourth album.