That concept may repel some of you artsier music snobs, but in all honesty Alex seems like his expression of very teenage emotions are genuine.
That's the difference between some other prop artist focusing on teenage subjects like maybe Halsey (ew). Mura Masa both lyrically and instrumentally authentically and sincerely manifests bright and vibrant sentiment of heartbreak, growing pains & adolescence .
This being said, there are clearly a lot of inconsistencies and imperfections in the sound that Mura Masa is aiming for.
Also, if the idea of a distinctly angsty and "TEENAGER" album does not appeal to you, then this won't be your cup of tea. I'm not exaggerating when I say that Alex makes sure to focus every song around the teenager experience, this feeling of uncertainty, spontaneity, joviality yet also fearful. Each song embodies another aspect of what it is to be a teenager in our modern world.
The features on R.Y.C are pretty perfect for the theme at hand. The song "I Don't Think I Can Do This Again" is both rebellious and insecure and Clairo's feature is a great balance in between expressive and her usual laid-back demeanor. I've been a huge critic of Clairo's before and gave her debut album a harsh rating, but the way she builds up to the chorus is the peak of pop. Her vocals also pair with the production incredibly which creates this lovesick anthem.
After Clairo, Ned Green comes through with a quirky interlude about his half-naked escapades, again paired with a hypnotizingly mellow and nostalgic melody . Slowthai burst through the serenity of the previous instrumental and delivers a loud, abrasive yet fun message to all those who will "say you've changed", another message which will hit for most young adults. Besides even without the message, the production is groovy and slowthai's delivery is infectious, especially on the emphatic and catchy chorus.
The next feature is Tirzah on the song "Today" which is a beautifully reflective piece with some guitar chords resemblant of Mac DeMarco's "Salad Days". Tirzah delivers a aching, emotional performance matched with possibly some of Alex's best production. Even Ellie Rowsell, an artist I am not familiar with came through with a poignant feature which perfectly sums up the frustration of this album on "Teenage Headache Dreams" and gives us a much needed display of range after what is a pretty safe vocal performance from Alex himself. Ellie caps off the album appropriately and perfectly leads to the ambient and sobering instrumental finale, "(nocturne for strings and a conversation)".
The Georgia feature makes A LOT of sense given her surge of popularity recently and her recent album, "Seeking Thrills". Nonetheless I still find her vocals to be so lifeless and lacking any engaging content. This fact mixed with Mura Masa's most tame production makes "Live Like We're Dancing" by far the most forgettable track on this 11-song album.
In my opinion, Mura Masa's production is near flawless throughout the entire album. Where the flaws really come flooding are in his vocal performances. Although Mura Masa has made a rather focused album, he is still to find HIS voice as a vocalist.
Songs like "In My Mind" & the first verse of "Teenage Headache Dreams" could benefit greatly from Mura Masa' defying his style as a vocalist, as it seems to shift around from track to track. There are multiple moments where it sees like Crossan is wearing his inspirations on his sleeve very visibly .As well as adding some dynamics and emotions, as a lot of the performances seem almost deadpan or overly bare, which may work for some people, although it does undeniably wear off after a while.
Overall, R.Y.C is a very genuine and unique indie pop album full of engaging themes of youth and stand-out performances from faces around the music scene, all orchestrated by Alex Crossan who comes through with a different style than before, yet undeniably still just as full of talent and memorable moments.
BEST TRACKS: No Hope Generation, I Don't Think I Can Do This Again, a meeting at an oak tree, Deal Wiv It, In My Mind, Today
WORST TRACKS: Live Like We're Dancing