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When I was 13, I first discovered my favorite song of all time: "July," by Youth Lagoon. I was introduced to it by my favorite writer of all time (aside from Bukowski), Jason Myers.
I will never forget that day. I had my crappy apple earbuds in that were barely working. I was reading Blazed by Jason Myers on my sofa. The special thing about this book was that it had a massive long playlist at the back, with a song to listen to for each chapter. I had only got the book that day, but chapter three was "July" by Youth Lagoon. I looked it up on YouTube and sat back. I tried to keep reading, but, I couldn't.
Youth Lagoon, or the man behind it, Trevor Powers, took me to a place I had never been before that day. I went to climbing onto roofs at midnight with my guitar on my back; I went to moonlight beach trips under a sky soaked in melancholy. I went to the feeling of everything being so totally wrong, yet it all being so perfectly messed up that it was right.
From that day on, "July" by Youth Lagoon cannot be replaced by any other song in my heart. It's a big deal that I'm writing about it, since this song is my little secret, my secret baby where I go and hide when everything gets too much. I've always loved music, but never has a song felt like a home to me until hearing this. This song is my cave that I swim into, my beach hut, my warm embrace. It's so painful, yet it takes it all away.
The album that song is on is called The Year of Hibernation, and it's still one of my favorite albums ever written. Trevor plays with the idea of nostalgia heavily, and that was something the book explored too.
And then one day, back in 2016, Trevor disappeared.
I was heartbroken. I had just found him... and now he was ending his career? It was too much to bear. Yet, like any respectful fan, I tried to see his decision as a creative one. Youth Lagoon was such a perfect musical project that adding to it, or trying to, would have just taken away from the beauty that was. It's about realising when it's time to close a book—even if that book is all we ever want to read for the rest of our lives.
But you can imagine my absolute wonder when Trevor returned in 2018 with a song "Playwright" and a handwritten note. Upon listening to song song, the progression that Trevor has achieved during his time of absence is amazing. The Asian influences in the introduction and the general structure of the song show just how much Trevor has improved as an artist. The entire album is impeccably produced, and the whole atmosphere of the album is like The Year of Hibernation on steroids. "July" felt like a home, but the new album Mulberry Violence feels like a whole town. To me this album signifies Trevor finding himself as an artist. The experimental beats, crazy samples, and the overall sound of Trevor on both vocals and synthesizer adds an incredible depth and colour to the album. While, before he made his comeback, I would have worried that he would never make anything on par with July, after hearing this album, I see that Trevor's long hiatus led him to an incredible place artistically.
Trevor Powers is one of the most underrated artists of our generation. There aren't many people out here being quite as experimental and yet so wonderful to listen to.
I want you to witness the wonderful extravagance that is Youth Lagoon, and now Trevor Powers, for yourself. Let it take you on a journey to corners of your mind you have never dared to go before.