It has been 14 years since Los Angeles-based alternative-rockers Young the Giant broke onto the music scene. The band, which will play at The Blue Note on Feb. 17, has evolved during its adolescence, and now the members hope to avoid the potential awkwardness and uncertainty that comes during the teenage years.
Led by Sameer Gadhia, the group has remained successful by capitalizing on its diversity; the members are either first-generation Americans or immigrants. The group has experimented with a range of genres such as funk and rock and has the ability to untangle difficult topics such as mental health and immigration. The band’s ability to transcend singing about sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll has culminated into a deeper connection with fans.
Young the Giant played in Columbia in 2015, when the group had people waiting around the corner for hours to be in the front row. Matt Gerding, co-owner of The Blue Note, says the band enjoyed playing that show, which is part of the reason why he brought it back. Since then, the band has released two full-length albums to add to a pair of previous genre-bending records. To prep for the band’s upcoming show, Vox ranked the decade and a half of music the group has produced from the mind-meltingly awesome albums to the perfectly so-so.
1. Young the Giant (2011)
Saying the first album is the best one is pretentious about two-thirds of the time, but here, it’s true. Granted, it might not be the most cohesive and polished record, but each song is resoundingly strong for a first release. Local Young the Giant fan Kevin Garwood says he hopes the band plays songs off the debut record. “When you get to this point in a band’s life cycle, you start to cut more and more of the older songs in order to make room for the new stuff,” Garwood says. “I’d still like to see them play songs like ‘I Got’ and ‘Apartment.’”
2. Home of the Strange (2016)
On its third release, Home of the Strange, Young the Giant balanced alternative and rock sounds, creating unforced, fast-tempoed tracks. The hits came naturally. “Something to Believe In,” “Mr. Know-It-All,” and “Silvertongue” all received sizable radio play and gained permanent slots in its live sets.
3. Mirror Master (2018)
In its latest release, Young the Giant exudes confidence as the band members experiment with funk and punk sounds. The group has discovered how to balance its desire to write about deeper topics such as immigration and the American dream with their inherently fun sound. On the dance hit “Tightrope,” Gadhia bounces around the ’80s-esque track while singing about struggling with mental health: “I went to war for peace of mind, but what’s it for?” Claire Nichols, who has been a fan for years and is attending the upcoming show, is excited to hear the band’s newest album live. “I think Mirror Master will be the ultimate dance party,” she says.
4. Mind Over Matter (2014)
After the first record was a hit, the sophomore follow-up was less so. Despite Mind Over Matter leaning more toward pop, it failed to produce a strong single that took off. The album isn’t completely without merit, though. “The build at the beginning of the album into ‘Anagram’ is just a really nice flow, and the whole album continues on that,” says Rhianna Lightle, a local fan who says she thinks the album is strong from start to finish. ￼