Young The Giant’s “Home of the Strange”
By Jimmy Sears
Young the Giant’s newest album, “Home of the Strange,” presents an expression of alienation of America’s cultural dynamic. It also combines the breezy sounds of Young the Giant’s self-titled first album and the amped-up sounds from their second album, “Mind over Matter,” to combine the best of both worlds.
Young the Giant’s band members themselves are a mixture of cultures, and the first track, “Amerika,” satirizes the concept of the “American dream.” The protagonist arrives with “gold in [his] eyes” to reference the idealism that is spawned from the hope which itself is created from the idea of a fresh beginning. The newcomer “searches” for something, but feels cheated when he is misled. The track begins with a progression of chimes that communicates the cynicism presented throughout the song. A misty visceral sound accompanies the chimes to further present the gloom that plagues the protagonist. “Amerika’s” point is seemingly stated with the utterance of the “same old story–you want glory son.”
“Something to Believe In” could be a criticism of religious preaching, which the protagonist cannot understand. The person replies to the protagonist, saying that he “knows his fate.” Sameer Ghadia eventually thunders back, saying he’ll “give [him] something to believe in.” It escalates with the idea of burning “a basement full of demons” and the demand to realize he’s a “slave to [his] own mind” and to “break free.” The distorted guitar enters to more powerful riffs that presents a rugged, primal sound. The chorus’ chant adds to that effect.
Young the Giant’s drummer François Comtois, in an interview with “The Emory Wheel,” commented, in “Home of the Strange,” they mean to express that the culture and traditions that are created when immigrants are mixed with American culture are a “beautiful and bizarre amalgamation that couldn’t exist any other way.” One thing’s certain, Young the Giant makes a strong presentation of this message because of their effective integration of the sounds from their first and second albums for a third charm in their discography. 4 out of 5 owls.