Mura Masa steps into the rebellion of the current generation with an alternative to contemporary pop music through a throwback to 90s grunge and danceable rock tunes. The guitar has long been a symbol for rebellion and its sound oozes from every track be it acoustic or electric and acts as the mold for the rest of the album as “R.Y.C” or “Raw Youth Collage” is exactly that. Each track a snapshot of vulnerable teenage emotion over what the world has left them, as well as threading teenage memories adults can relate to.
Saying words that immediately jumpstart a personal memory in your head over an opening acoustic layering guitar and bassline we knew we were in for a different side of Mura Masa. A stripped back version that emanates pure feeling and makes influential waves for the genre…for whatever genre you’d try to place him in. The juxtaposition of youthful hope in the chords and 90’s throwback sound, to depressed almost nihilistic lyrics of “No Hope Generation” captures a lot of the current feeling of the generation post the new millennia. Clairo’s voice soars with pain as she sings the R.Y.C single “I don’t think I can do this again” singing about a strained love.
Only to transition in to “a meeting at an oak tree”, a soft anecdote that still leads to a tongue in cheek ending. It themesets the voice of a niche set of the generation that looks at all the bad in the world and still finds a way to stay joking and positive in their own strange brand of nihilism. The anger reaches an apex with Slowthai’s “Deal wiv it”. Reminiscent of the British electronic rock band Enter Shikari’s song “Slipshod” but more grounded, it forgoes melody for brash, gruff, spoken word about life in Britain with rapper Slowthai forgoing rap altogether to just yell in your face about a day in the life that only gets you riled up for “vicarious living anthem”, that rocks out so happily that if you get caught up in until you realize the meaning of the song title and realize the playful sarcasm still drips.
“Today (with Tirzah)” seems to be the track that releases that veil of defensive sarcasm into actual emotion- experiencing the doldrums of another day after another. Human connection without the barriers of the online connection and being present in the life you have. “Live like we are dancing” really captures that euphoria with it’s thumping bass right next to the snare hits of a real drum kit. That leads in to the first half of “Teenage headache dreams” that blasts into a psychedelic experience with layers upon layers of guitar and synths. Ending with “Nocturne for strings and conversation”, a comedown from the high of the album sounds like a track almost designed for you and someone else to speak from the soul to each other, about the album you just heard, or maybe a memory long forgotten, a story between friends.
This album attempts to help human reconnection through a shared audio experience. The beginnings of a relationship hiding truths behind sarcasm, emotional walls, and anger, to revealing true emotions, in hopes of this person will understand. Listening with the hope that you can reach that final track with Mura Masa setting the mood, dedicating that final track to those moment when you can speak and feel honestly with another human being. And isn’t that what albums are about?
Written by Alex Fevry