Yungblud has spent the past few years as an angry, righteous and comforting voice for a generation who’ve watched the world burn around them. His angst-ridden pop-punk has hit out at politicians, gun lobbyists and, well, every injustice in the world. But now it’s time for a change in tactics.
“It’s an era of optimism. I’m not angry anymore… I’m surrounded by a lot of love,” Yungblud promised as he kicked off the march towards album two with the tie-dyed electropop smirk of ‘Weird!’ back in March. Sounding like The 1975 meets Depeche Mode, this first taste of the new era of Dom Harrison was a wonky departure from the fiery tunes that have so far taken him from dingy pubs to five sold-out nights at the O2 Forum Kentish Town in London and a carnage-inducing appearance at this year’s NME Awards.
Yungblud’s latest offering, ‘Strawberry Lipstick’, continues this new world order. A fizzing celebration of heart over head, this arena-baiting track is an all-out party that couldn’t be more in love with love.
Yungblud has spoken about matters of the heart before: from the epic-but-doomed affair of ‘11 Minutes’ to the reality biting skip of ‘I Love You, Will You Marry Me’, those relationships have always ended in tragedy. There’s none of that, though, across the rose-tinted dance of ‘Strawberry Lipstick’. “She got my heart in her hands like a headlock… she holds all the p-p-power in her fingertips” he sings, happy to give up control. “She’s going to taste my body with her fingertips,” he grins across the lusty anthem that crosses Pulp with Royal Blood.
A charged, head-over-heels banger about loving who you want to love, lyrically Dom is still a rebellious force to be reckoned with. “They’re going to lock me in the closet but I’m coming out, singing fuck all the oppression and the self-doubt,” he snarls. “I’m going to bite all of your fingers, put them in my mouth.”
Wearing a Spice Girls-referencing Union Jack dress while posing with a British Bulldog — and referencing that David Bowie shot — the cover of ‘Strawberry Lipstick’ makes absolutely no bones about just how British this track is. Instead of a weirdly timed burst of patriotism or the desire to reclaim a sense of British identity, the song instead pays homage to Dom’s musical heritage with nods to the everyday heroics of Oasis, T. Rex’s psychedelic escapism and The Rolling Stones’ flamboyant swagger.
By aping his wildly different childhood heroes, ‘Strawberry Lipstick’ is naive, excitable and celebratory of the power of a generation who know what they want. “Since the beginning of time, humans have been so complex and, like, 15 different personalities at once — but we’re the first generation to accept it and know that it’s alright to be who you are,” Yungblud told NME recently.
‘Strawberry Lipstick’ is a very modern rampage through the aisles of The Greats. Guitar-driven, energetic and changing gears multiple times, this kaleidoscopic burst of excitement sees Dom stripped back to the practice room and making as much noise as possible. No frills beyond the joy of being loud, there’s a real freedom to the track’s giddy attack and the closest we’re going to get at the moment to the euphoric chaos of a Yungblud live show.
It’s the sound of an artist with nothing to prove, but who still wants to share his heart with his ride-or-die fanbase, the Black Heart Club. Time and time again, Yungblud has told his audience how much he fookin’ loves them, how they’ve saved his life and how, together, they’re a family.
With ‘Strawberry Lipstick’, he’s written a turbo-charged soundtrack for his new lease of life that’ll also make you fall in love all over again.