Flashback to middle school, when life was straight out of a Wattpad fanfiction. I vaguely recall lacing up my knee-high Doc Martens as I prepared for my first Yungblud concert.
At the stadium, I was greeted by the hoards of cheering “not like other girls” girls. The sheer quantity of smudged black eyeliner could have filled a swimming pool and the overflow of flannel was enough to clothe an entire orphanage. In the middle of this mildly horrifying mosh pit of sweaty preteens stood Dominic Harrison, otherwise known as Yungblud, fully clad with his signature pink socks and black dress. As always, the singer yelled words of encouragement to his fans, advocating for equality and understanding for all.
That is the best way to describe the vibe of Yungblud’s new song; “Fleabag.” A congregation of tweenage tears with an anarchist vigor laced in alcoholic tendencies. From “nobody loves me” to “send me to rehab,” this song screams angst at the top of its lungs. It fits in perfectly with the current “Rawring 20’s” music sensation that has been sweeping the nation. A rise in alternative rock seemed to have come out of nowhere, leaving my 13 year old self’s individuality complex rolling over in its half-dug grave.
Many fans were disappointed with the release of his most recent album Weird!, feeling that it did not live up to its name. With the exception of a few songs, the entire album was full of “trashy” and “normal” pop music, which was certainly not what was expected from the artist. “Fleabag” takes some of the mainstream leanings of the album and warps them into a vaguely alt-rock extravaganza, chock full of emo tears. There is a new focus on the drums, but Harrison’s unique vocals continue to shine through. The guitar solo seems to come out of nowhere in the middle of the song, shocking some excited young fans, with many critics feeling that it was too abrupt. Regardless of individual taste, the song has a fun and new energy to it.
The message of the song is what really makes it special. Yungblud said in an interview that he wrote the song while in a really dark place. His words are a message that confused teens and adults alike should take to heart during these difficult times. “When everybody else has an expectation of what you should be or have their own version of your truth it messes with your brain because you start to think, ‘Maybe they’re right, maybe they do know what’s best for me, maybe I should change who I am,’” he says. “But ultimately I believe to my core, it’s the foundation I built my whole ideology around, that self-expression and the right to be unconditionally yourself is the best thing you can be.”
People deserve to love themselves, and the first step towards that is to stop pretending to be like someone else. Lady Gaga didn’t become a queer icon by wearing t-shirts and skinny jeans. Olivia Rodrigo didn’t get her fame from writing about someone else’s ex. These people became celebrities because they were unconditionally themselves. We are naturally drawn to individuality. So make a name for yourself, be who you want to be.
Yungblud managed to revamp an old message while bringing something new to the table. While it is certainly not for everyone, if you’re looking for a new genre of music, or just need a pinch of inspiration, “Fleabag” is the song for you.