Whether he’s behind the mic or fielding questions in one of his always colorful interviews, YUNGBLUD (born Dominic Harrison in 1997) knows how to serve up brief but brilliant life insights, like the time he told Apple Music, “I am completely full of contradiction, and I am 15 different people at once.” This makes total sense when you unpack the many radical genre twists and clashing emotions packed into the collision of alt-rock, hip-hop, and pop that the Yorkshire-born Brit has been bashing out since his first singles dropped in 2017. As if there weren’t one but a multitude of artists hiding underneath his gnarly punk hairdos and eye-popping sartorial choices, YUNGBLUD can be both a working-class MC spitting out grime-inspired tales of youth alienation (“Psychotic Kids”) and a sensitive romantic yearning with all the aching honesty of The Cure’s Robert Smith (“Weird!”). And just when you think you have him figured out, he reveals himself to be a cocky Brit rocker dropping hooks huge enough for arenas (“Loner”) or even an aggro howler unleashing the kind of grungy riffs perfect for stage-dives (“Strawberry Lipstick”). The fact that YUNGBLUD has achieved pop fame is proof that his innovatively heterogeneous approach to music-making has indeed touched a deep nerve with a generation of youth who have grown up in an age of proliferating identities. There’s no need for YUNGBLUD to maintain a cohesive public persona or an easily trademarked sound; as a musician, he can just be himself, even if there are 15 of them.
BORNAugust 5, 1997