Has Yung Lean stood the test of time? Well, kind of. A once highly talked about rapper from Sweden, known for his very unique style of music and high focus on aesthetic, Lean has slowly backed out of the limelight. He has developed a cult following who will more than likely go any lengths for him, even if he were to start a folk jazz fusion band.
Even after the giant buzz of Yung Lean at around 2014, the influences he brought to youth culture are still with us today. After this period, Yung Lean continued to release great music, with his album Warlord being released early this year, along with playing a sold out date in London in May and playing Reading & Leeds festival, which still garnered a large crowd. Although Yung Lean isn’t as hugely popular as he once was, people still wouldn’t pass on the opportunity to see him perform live.
So as a Yung Lean fan since the Oreomilkshake days, it absolutely killed my soul when I listened to Hennessy & Sailor Moon, Yung Lean’s newest track which was released last Friday. The title sums up the aesthetic style of Yung Lean – anime and alcohol. Lean became famous for his hard beats and his autotuned voice. This song has neither. It seems as if Yung Lean is having an attempt at writing a ballad in his own style of songwriting. I’m glad he’s experimenting in different styles; it worked beautifully in the punk-style vocals of Miami Ultras. But it just doesn’t work here. Previously, any sung vocals by Lean were heavily autotuned, which sounded surprisingly nice when layered with the ethereal beats of producers Yung Gud and Yung Sherman – who are members of the ‘Sadboys’ collective with Yung Lean.
I will admit that when I first listened to some Yung Lean songs, my first impression is usually a dismissive one. But they slowly begin to grow on me as I began to understand Yung Lean’s unique style, which has remained fairly consistent over the past 3 years. But Hennesey and Sailor Moon is just not that good. I can appreciate that Yung Lean is putting emotion into his songs as he does with his other work, but this just isn’t good. I believe he is more than capable of finding a way of doing this new ballad style well – but he just hasn’t found how to do it yet. Most of the comments of the YouTube video praise the song, saying that Yung Lean is ‘growing up’ but it’s just extremely mediocre to me, a long time fan of Yung Lean. If a long time fan dislikes it then it will probably sound a lot worse for anyone who hasn’t heard his music before.
If you don’t know who Yung Lean is, listen to Hoover, Yoshi City or Volt. Something that isn’t this.
Words By Jordan Fann