Welcome to Electronic Playground. In this weekly column, we will cover tech-heavy music that is a large segment of the Alternative/Indie movement of today. In general, these bands do not see the popularity of some "less out there" acts, so do not be discouraged if you haven't heard of them. We will focus on all types of electronic music in a genre that is known for its subcategories.
Ordinarily, we discuss bands who share a handful of songs through their inclusion in media, have enjoyed pretty decent mainstream success. One such act is Electric Youth. Now, don't get us wrong. We are not saying they owe their success simply to that. Personally, we feel as though they are one of the best electronic acts out there today. The Canadian duo of Bronwyn Griffin and Austin Garrick have a healthy recipe for making beautiful music. Having been exposed to them through their use in the film, Drive, which is a work of art in its own right, we are happy bands such as these are able to get out to as many ears as possible. Electric Youth isn't all about harsh effects and in your face Techno/EDM, Garrick's beats are slow and melodic and feature angelic vocals from Griffin and a lot of passion that shines through. The first song we will discuss, "A Real Hero," which technically isn't "their" song as it was written in collaboration with the band, College," has 25 times the number of listens as their second most popular song on Spotify for a good reason. This song is damn good. In fact, one of the main reasons (yes, we will say it) that we enjoyed the movie so much in the first place was the soundtrack and the setting it put us in. No song was more responsible for that than "A Real Hero."
A Real Hero - Electric Youth
The real kicker behind the track is, according to Garrick, part of the inspiration behind the song is about the US Airways Flight 1549 crash in 2009. You know, the "Miracle on the Hudson" featuring the one and only Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger. Garrick said his father referred to Sully as "a real human being and a real hero," which became the basis of the track. Upon learning this, we get a completely new feel about the song. We now have a face to put with the "real hero" other than Ryan Gosling, who was already a great hero, by the way. The song begins with the whistle of something quickly dropping (typically the sound of a bomb dropping) and a building and brooding melody building beneath. Incredibly catchy chorus vocals continue word play between the hero and human element and you just can't help but sing along. The beat and melody stay fairly consistent throughout, but you are able to follow the storyline with clearly defined verses. The more and more you hear, the more and more you feel as though you are watching the end scene of a movie no matter what you're doing.
Innocence - Electric Youth
This song is next up on featured tracks by the band on Spotify. This song follows a similar blueprint as "A Real Hero" and we think it's a good one to replicate. It features a staggering frequency sound at the beginning that finally stabilizes as the melody starts to kick in. The song meaning itself seems to have a reverse Synthpop "Cats in the Cradle" vibe. We mean that with no disrespect or jest toward either artist/act. We feel as though the words are being sung from a child as they go through the paces of life, eventually becoming the masters of their own destiny. Meanwhile, losing the innocence they had as children. With the occupying music and tone, we feel it goes a bit beyond just that. As though while there is a changing of the guard of sorts, there have been struggles and trauma on the way that takes away the innocence the person once had. The lyrics remain a bit vague so "insert your trauma here" of sorts that makes this track incredibly relatable. Add the facts that the billowing melody and child-like vocals envelope you throughout the entire experience. Listen to this one in the car or in your headphones. Let it take you over a bit and put yourself in the seat of the experience.
The Best Thing - Electric Youth
While we were not intending to write this piece about the Top 3 songs from this band, at least via featured tracks on
Spotify, but you have to give credit when credit is due. These are the top three songs we would want someone to hear when getting a feel for this group. We also couldn't get away from the same album, but again, credit being due and whatnot. This article does not necessarily rank songs in order of personal preference or rank of any sort among the ones featured. If that were the case, this one would be toward the top of the article. This song is just that good. This is Synthpop at its finest, ladies and gentlemen. The intro pulls us along with the repetitive melody and beat until Griffin kicks her pipes in. She describes the building relationship between the characters in the movie Drive, including the whole "scorpion on the back" thing. This could be that this song was to feature in the soundtrack as well. We'd like to think it's the band using an opportunity to describe a classic love tale while also showing their appreciation for a track that really boosted their exposure. Only the artists would know for sure given the timeline and the songs being featured on the same album. Enjoy this track. We cannot stop listening to it.
How to Listen:
Ordinarily, I like the share the best ways to listen. Certain bands just sound better from different mediums, especially in the electronic realm. We are pretty sure you could listen to Electric Youth from one of those old Yak Bak devices and we would still bob our heads (if you do not get the reference, look it up and then appreciate what you have access to today technology wise). If you're trying to appreciate the vocals and gather your own interpretation of the lyrics, use some good over the ear headphones. The mix helps separate the sounds so you can clearly hear what Griffin is saying. We suppose you could do a better job with speakers if you turn the bass down, but who wants to do that?