Album Review: “Mind Over Matter”/Young the Giant/Fueled By Ramen

Photo: Rolling Stone
Photo: Rolling Stone

 

By Aaron Collier

Artist: Young the Giant
Album: Mind Over Matter
Label: Fueled By Ramen
Release Date: January 17th, 2014

Track Listing

1) Slow Drive
2) Anagram
3) It’s About Time
4) Crystallized
5) Mind Over Matter
6) Daydreamer
7) Firelight
8) Camera
9) In My Home
10) Eros
11) Teachers
12) Waves
13) Paralysis

The first time I heard Young the Giant I was working at a community college bookstore that played Top 40 pop and country on a continuos loop. From a self proclaimed “music elitist” (Not a “snob,” but an “elitist”. Makes me feel like a super-villain), this was the worst kind of punishment. I was forced to scour the stations until I found something made my ears perk with interest.

I finally settled on the “Indie Rock” station that played the sound I was content with listening to for the 8-hours I was bound to work by the power of the almighty paycheck.

(Side Note: I actually enjoyed my time at the bookstore, but just like every job on this planet, some days were more challenging than others to get through. This is what made the music I listened to so important. I find time flies a bit faster with good tunes as the fuel for the plane.)

Photo: Intheopen.tv
Photo: Intheopen.tv

This was the first time I heard “My Body,” the bands first single from their self-titled debut (which was released on a major label. Go figure). From the first chord I was hooked. When I got home I downloaded the full album and was more than impressed by what it had to offer.

After a four year absence, the band releases their second album, Mind Over Matter, on Fueled By Ramen Records.

This is what we call a “triumphant return.”

Mind Over Matter gives us the upbeat pop/rock we loved with their debut, but the band has added a bit of a heavier atmosphere. “It’s About Time,” “Waves,” and “Paralysis” are all songs that give off a bit of a gloomier feel, which is a bit of change from the first album. They do tend to go into a brighter chorus or bridge that cushions the darker sound a bit, but this tweak in sound isn’t bad by any stretch. It adds to the overall feel of the album as an emotional roller coaster that seems to be the lyrical theme of the album.

The band’s mixture of the heavier shift in atmosphere with the up-beat rock they are known for makes for a successful dichotomy. They never lose their sound even when the shift occurs. You know you are still listening to a Young the Giant album. “Anagram,” “Crystalized,”Daydreamer,” and “In My Home” all capture the light hearted sound that the band is known for, and provides a back drop for the tone shift to occur naturally without force. It also helps that the band knows the lost art of track placement. The flow of the album is one of the best I’ve heard and each song fits into their place. There wasn’t a time when I thought a song sounded out of order which is a huge achievement in this day and age.

I like bands that take risks without compromising their core sound. With Mind Over Matter, Young the Giant added just enough variance without ruining their signature sound in the process. It’s a tight rope to walk, but they get to the other side without falling and, dare I say, without even as much as a stumble.

Should I Listen To It: YES

Download: The Whole Album

Final Verdict: Mind Over Matter is an almost perfect album and the record Young the Giant will be remembered for.

 

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