In a world of nearly unlimited musical variety—where indie artists obsess with experimentation, where genres and tones are constantly blended and morphed—Danish artist Gustaf emerges with a more definable style: his songs are singularly, unashamedly (and, perhaps, refreshingly) pop. His music follows the standard pop staples: the teenage angst, the dramatic phone conversations, the nervous hellos and tearful goodbyes. And, of course, his songs are often about love.
Enter his newest release, the aptly titled breakup anthem “Young Love.”
Although it’s a breakup song, “Young Love” is less about crying into your pillow and more about punching it. As Gustaf puts it, “It’s not about getting back together… It’s more a ‘F*** you’ song” (Indeed, the lyrics are awash in melodramatic expletives). After a glutinous beginning, the song bursts into a powerful chorus. With its synthesized sound and echoey drums, “Young Love” begins to sound like an 80s power-pop ballad. It’s genuinely fun listening to—and relating to—Gustaf’s righteous indignation: more spite than sorrow, more retrospection than regret.
The weakness of “Young Love” is in its lyrics, which are almost uniformly basic. Once a verse begins, it’s easy to guess how it ends. Generally, this is forgivable—who can resist rhyming “love” with “enough” for the thousandth song, anyway?—but it does strike me as a lost opportunity.
More than anything, Gustaf shows that he has passion, and that he’s capable of channeling it through his music. “Young Love” is a song spun from his own experiences, and his ability to craft them into a broad, relatable anthem is impressive. Here’s to more catchy anthems from an artist who’s shown that he’s able to open up his heart—because after all, isn’t that what love is all about?
Review by Alex Figueiredo