Music Critic Ellie Harris reviews YUNGBLUD’S new single and raves about this gender defying punk rock tune
The influence of Oasis and The Cure is evident in YUNGBLUD’s new single, ‘Strawberry Lipstick.’ Decked out in spiked red hair and a Union Jack dress that Ginger Spice would be proud of, YUNGBLUD confidently explores themes of identity, with the electrifying mix of punk-rock and Brit-pop channelling everything from The Sex Pistols to The Clash, and bringing new life to the phrase ‘Punks Not Dead’.
Stylistically, ‘Strawberry Lipstick’ is quite similar to one of YUNGBLUD’s earliest songs ‘King Charles’ with both featuring a shouted intro to the song, as well as a powerful bass line and drums. They’re both full of electric guitar riffs creating a fast-paced and exciting track, which is perfectly complemented by YUNGBLUD’s gritty vocals and heavy Northern accent. However, ‘Strawberry Lipstick’ leans into a heavier and more punk-rock sound than ‘King Charles’ with the use of audio feedback throughout creating an impression of live music, which is absent in other tracks.
The song itself is incredibly catchy, with the simple and more pop-sounding chorus guaranteed to have you singing along before you can finish the first listen. Combined with the music video, which is just as energetic as the song, it will have you wanting to get up and dance, and then play the track on repeat. The guitar solo, performed by YUNGBLUD’s guitarist Adam Warrington, adds an extra flair to the climax of the song, and only seeks to add to the overall effect.
As with classic punk, ‘Strawberry Lipstick’ is an exciting exploration of gender and sexuality, with both the song and the music video subverting gender roles liberally. YUNGBLUD begs his lover to ‘take it easy, girl’ and declares that she ‘holds all the p-p-power in her fingertips,’ creating an interesting power dynamic that’s reinforced in the music video. He also chooses to play with gender expression, wearing makeup and a dress for much of the video, and puts the only reference to the song’s title in the lyric, ‘she’s gonna suck on my strawberry lipstick.’ The line ‘They’re gonna lock me in the closet but I’m coming out’ also references sexuality, and implies a pride in identity which is maintained throughout the single.
Overall, ‘Strawberry Lipstick’ is a very promising start to the new era of YUNGBLUD, and I cannot wait to see what he produces next. My only complaint is that the song is too short, as I could easily listen to more, though as it is it will be stuck in my head for weeks.
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