Editors’ Notes “My first record was almost like a phone call asking, ‘Is there anyone out there who’s like me?’” YUNGBLUD tells Apple Music. “And it turned out there were millions of people. I found a community where I belong. And weird! is about them.” If that debut, 2018’s 21st Century Liability, was propelled forward by the Doncaster artist’s anger at being misunderstood, weird! is an ode to optimism, as YUNGBLUD celebrates the healing power of finding your people across 12 songs inspired by his own. But weird!—a dizzingly diverse album influenced by everyone from the Beastie Boys to Amy Winehouse and the Arctic Monkeys—is also a deeply personal exploration of coming home to yourself after troubled times. “It was written after the weirdest 18 months of my entire existence,” says YUNGBLUD, whose real name is Dominic Harrison. “I nearly lost my mum in a car accident; [YUNGBLUD] got really fucking big, really fucking quickly; I fell in love and it was all over the internet, and then, when it didn’t work out, that was all over the internet, too.” Coming home in late 2019—and playing a sold-out show at London’s Brixton Academy—switched the lights back on after a period of heartbreak-induced depression. “After the show, at about four in the morning, I went up to Primrose Hill,” he recalls. “In the freezing cold, the lyrics to ‘weird!’ just came out. And that's when I knew what this album was going to be about. It was going to be an album of overcoming the weirdest, hardest times of your life. And knowing that you're going to be all right in the end.” Read on as YUNGBLUD talks us through the exhilarating weird!, one song at a time.

teresa
“I was in the studio and remembered that a girl told me about her boyfriend passing away. They had come to the shows together. I wanted to write a song about this girl and her boyfriend being on the other side, watching over her. But there was also a resemblance between me and my fanbase—that no matter what happens to us, we're always looking out for each other. I wanted this song to start soft and then be like, ‘Bang, the album’s off.’ It has four tempo changes; the middle eight is like The Beatles and then it sounds like Queen at the end. I produced the album with [US songwriter] Chris Greatti, who is so unashamedly pretentious. I was like, ‘I’m going to match your pretentiousness.’ The end of this song was just us trying to top each other.”

cotton candy
“I see this as a plaster for the punch in the gut from the ending of ‘teresa.’ I wrote this with Justin Tranter, Julia Michaels, and Omer Fedi, while Chris and Zakk Cervini produced it. I was like, ‘I wanted to write a song about sex,’ and I literally stripped down to my underpants—consensually, of course—and did the whole session in my underpants. It's like the most bubblegum YUNGBLUD song ever, but it's naughty. It was written and produced in three hours. Take your clothes off, sing about sex, and it’s done!”

strawberry lipstick
“The opening of this song says, ‘This is a song about a person I love.’ It’s talking about yourself. I fucking hated myself when I wrote that song. I was fighting with people about my sound. And I was like, ‘All right. You want to fucking normalize me? I'm going to dye my hair red, I'm going to write a fucking punk song, and I'm going to wear a Union Jack dress on its cover.’ That's what I'm like. I had the [Channel 4 show] Fresh Meat on repeat when I was writing this song, as well as the Oasis documentary Supersonic, because I was locked down in LA and craving England. The song came out—and was written, recorded, and finished—in one night.”

mars
“This was the hardest song on this album—it took a year for me to get it right. It’s about a young trans girl I met in Maryland. She told me that her parents couldn’t fathom the idea of her being trans. They thought it was just some sort of phase. All she wanted to do was get her parents to a YUNGBLUD show, because maybe they'd see other people like her. So she saved up and came with her parents. They saw the passion, the energy, the noise, and the sheer reluctance to be anything other than who [my fans] are, and they accepted her as their baby girl. I can't find her, and I don't know if I want to. My dream is to go to Maryland one day and play some arena. I’ll know it's about her, she'll know it's about her, but no one else does. And that’s just the most magic thing in the world.”

superdeadfriends
“I wanted this to feel like the Beastie Boys meets Happy Mondays. But then we put the 808 drums on and my voice to make it modern. The song is about drugs and about losing my peers to drugs. I’m not going to be naive and tell people not to take drugs. But it's just a song about doing it safely, because the high ain't worth losing your life or a friend. It's a song about wanting to escape. Be free, have fun, let loose—but do it with caution.”

love song
“The first YUNGBLUD love song. I don’t say this very often, but I had a lot of violence in my house growing up. I was always very loved as a kid, but my idea of love—and what it meant to fall in love—got skewed. It was like, ‘If this is love, fuck that shit. I'm going to be all right on my own, thank you very much.’ But then I met someone and I fell in love and I realized I'd never been more wrong in my life. I learned so much—she was incredible and we were incredible together. But I didn’t just want to write a song about falling in love or being heartbroken, because no one can prepare you for the pain of heartbreak. It’s about falling in and out of love—with your arms open.”

god save me, but don't drown me out
“I wrote this in June 2020, at 4 am. We were in the studio doing finishing touches before playing the album to my label the next day. I could feel about nine months of bottled emotion crawling up my back. I just looked at everyone and I was like, ‘Yo, put the kettle on.’ And I went in the booth to record and I just started crying my eyes out. I grew up two years in about 20 minutes. I think you can hear my crying in the song. I just needed help. Not from anyone else—I needed help from myself. It was like, ‘Come on, we’re going to be all right.’ And I think my body went, ‘Yeah, I think we are.’ This song is about overcoming anything. The world is yours if you want it.”

ice cream man
“This is a song that I've been playing on the road for two years, that I wrote for a little bit of fun. This song makes me go, ‘I’m English, no one ever forget that.’ There’s a line in this song about hating myself and marrying my cousin. It’s about small towns and just about Donny [Doncaster]. It’s like, ‘I’m going to be my cross-dressing, lipstick-wearing self, even if it fucking kills you.’ I'm not literally talking about marrying my cousin, obviously. But we may as well all be cousins, because we've been here in the same fucking village for the past 100 years.”

weird!
“Almost everything I’ve said here, in one song. It’s about trying to catch smoke and feeling like the floor's going to move under you. And it has one of the most emotional lines on the album—‘I want luck. I want love. Sharing earphones on the bus, and wake up next to you in Glasgow.’ I just saw me in Fred Perry, with my Fred Perry-matching girlfriend or boyfriend on a bus that's condensated as fuck, sharing earphones listening to ‘A Certain Romance’ by the Arctic Monkeys. I wanted it to be a cinematic song. I want it to be like a series of Skins within an album. This became the title track because this is an album for the weirdest years of our lives. And I wanted to redefine what weird meant. I've been called weird my whole life. And I used to hate the idea of being weird, but now I love it. Weird is about being different and celebrating individuality. I think to be weird is what it means to be truly free.”

charity
“Again, I wanted to make a song about being yourself. But I also wanted to make a song where I could pretend I was in every band I want to be in. I wanted to be Mike Skinner or Liam Gallagher or Lily Allen. The middle eight is like [The Fratellis’ 2006 single] ‘Chelsea Dagger’ 2.0. The lyric here is ‘Donate my brain to charity.’ It’s like, ‘If you don't like it, fucking give it away. Take me to a charity shop because some fucking cool kid is going to pick me up and put me on.’”

it’s quiet in beverly hills
“I didn’t really think, ‘I’m going to do an acoustic song.’ I was in Hollywood, and I’m so English—I like Yorkshire tea and Hobnobs and I want people to tell the truth. But I just got caught up in Hollywood bollocks and in the paparazzi and the game that everyone plays to try and top each other. And I was like, I don't want to do this. I got into music to build a community. And now I'm stood with a load of wankers talking about how their songs did last week on the radio chart. I was surrounding myself with friends who weren't really my friends, and I got lost. When I say, ‘I will love you for the rest of my life until you close your eyes for good,’ I'm talking to my fanbase. Because they pull me out every time.”

the freak show
“This was like, ‘OK, I’ve given you an album, now I’m going to do something for myself.’ I wanted a 'Bohemian Rhapsody.’ There are four key changes, five time changes, and a big, dramatic ending. It’s every YUNGBLUD song squeezed into one. And it literally goes from a minor verse to a major chorus, it goes minor in the middle, then back to major, then back to minor again. Towards the end of the song, there is a line that says, ‘Times will change and you might break.’ I recorded it with no music—just to a click track. And I said, ‘Build on top of that. If the music tops my passion, I’ll record it again. But I dare you to try and top the passion of that vocal take.’ This song is a message to my fanbase. Times will change and you might break, but I will spend the rest of my life believing in you.”

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