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Track Review

Ah, young love. It's just difficult, isn't it?

At least, so you'd think if pop songs were your only insight into the topic. Sure, some tunes just gush and glow. But more often, angst over romantic disappointment and dysfunction creeps in. And so a relationship that began with such hope and promise devolves into something … messy.

That's pretty much the story with "Youngblood," the title track from Australian boy band 5 Seconds of Summer's third studio album.

Well, That Went South in a Hurry

The song begins with soaring, vow-ish sentiments: "Remember the words you told me, 'Love me 'til the day I die'/Surrender my everything 'cause you made me believe you're mine."

And that concludes the nice, romantic portion of this song (and this review). From here, the song descends rapidly into bitterness, recrimination and dysfunction—like a jet at cruising altitude that suddenly experiences total engine failure.

Ain't gonna be a pretty ride down.

First up, name-calling: "Yeah, you used to call me baby, now you're calling me by name." One gets the sense that the name in question here isn't a nice one.

Then some mildly profane nanny-nanny-boo-boo stuff: "Takes one to know one, yeah, you beat me at my own d--n game."

Next, I-tried-harder-than-you accusations: "I give and I give and I give, and you take, give and you take."

Get-out-of-here rage? Check: "Say you want me, say you want me out of your life/And I'm just a dead man walking tonight."

Ah, but it's not quite that easy. Because when one of them imbibes a bit too much, the drunk-dialing begins: "Lately our conversations end like it's the last goodbye/Then one of us gets drunk and calls about a hundred times."

Finally there's the subtle implication that even though they can't stand each other anymore, they're both apparently still jonesing for sex: "But you need it, yeah, you need it all the time/ … 'Cause I need it, yeah, I need, all the time."

Which could, I think, go a long ways toward explaining why this dysfunctional, acrimonious breakup isn't going so well.

West Side Story Meets Japan in the Matrix?

The official video for the song is a bit of a Matrix-y trip—one that doesn't have much to do with the song's themes, I should add. It begins an elderly Japanese couple, sitting in wheelchairs, smiling and thanking each other. They're each given a greenish-blue pill by a young woman who then bows and departs.

After they take the pills, they're transported back into their youthful selves for 24 hours. The world they inhabit is an oddly retro, '50s-ish American fever dream in which the other Japanese characters there are mostly wearing leather (the guys) or poodle skirts (the girls). We see some shirtless guys with greased, Elvis-like pompadour hairstyles, as well as a lot of preening and strutting between two angry young men who eventually fight. And characters drink, smoke and act aggressively between well-choreographed dance numbers.

In the end, the two main characters sit down together, look longingly into each other's eyes, then look at a watch ticking down to zero, after which everything fades to black. What, exactly, has happened isn't clear. But it doesn't seem good. At the very least, their trip to the past is over. But it could be that everything is over for them.

All in all, the official video (an alternate, black-and-white one simply features the band performing the song live) is as unusual and ambiguous as the song itself is rote and predictable. One thing's for sure, though: there's plenty of anger and angst in both.

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Top 5 iTunes track.

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April 12, 2018

On Video

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Adam R. Holz

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

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