“Mind Over Matter” by Young the Giant Review


Will’s take on “Mind Over Matter”

Maybe there is such a thing as the sophomore slump. Coming off two singles in the US Top 100 Rock tracks (from their debut album), neither of Young The Giant’s newest singles have charted. What changed?

Well, for one, they changed labels. Their self-titled debut album came from Roadrunner, the name behind acts like Rush, Slipknot, and Ratt. Odd compatriots for an indie rock band, if you ask me. But that’s why Young The Giant’s debut album worked. It was weird, and it didn’t follow the formula of today’s average up-and-coming indie rock group.

“Mind Over Matter” comes from Fueled By Ramen, whose acts include Panic! at The Disco, fun., Fall Out Boy, and Twenty One Pilots. “Mind Over Matter” puts out its accessible tracks right at the start, just like Young The Giant. And just like Young the Giant, I got bored about four songs in. However, I will grant you that I loved the fourth track and second single, “Crystallized,” because of its fun, upbeat, sound that forced me to reminisce about the earlier days of The Killers.

Finally, the formula changes with the seventh track, “Firelight.” And the rest of the album wins some and loses some. But to me, thats what indie rock should be. It should be experimental, test the bonds of pop music, and push me to question musical choices! And it works. I loved “Eros,” but any other band could have done it equally well. The final track, “Paralysis,” on the other hand, was different, fun, and exciting.

For me, Young the Giant is halfway there. Fueled by Ramen has for sure done them good, but not all the good they need. I’m sure they will have a distinct sound that is both radio-ready and exciting come the third album, which I await eagerly. While hard to rate because I liked and disliked the album at the same time, I think I have to give it 2.5 stars, seeing as it just wasn’t different enough from the debut album and that only two of the thirteen songs stood out to me.

Key songs:





2.5 out of 5 stars.

Micah’s take on “Mind Over Matter”

If you’ve followed this blog for a while, you’ve probably gleaned the following about me:

1. I think music that doesn’t play it safe is invariably better than that which never takes a risk, even when the results are near-unlistenable.

2. Rock should have some element of danger, or at least something raw about it.

3. I may have an unhealthy obsession with Vampire Weekend.

I like “Mind Over Matter” for the exact same reason its singles haven’t charted yet: it’s, unexpectedly, a rock album that takes a few chances.

Certainly, there’s a formula at work in these songs. There could be a couple fewer synth slow-jams, and the tracks invariably run a minute or two longer than they should. And “Camera” is pure filler.

But that’s the result of having songs like “Anagram” and “It’s About Time,” songs that probably won’t find much airplay but luxuriate in arrangements that occasionally border on Grizzly-Bear-esque. The title song and “Daydreamer” are quick and unexpectedly raw, and “In My Home” and “Teachers” seem better suited for dancing than most of what we hear at dances. Strings command an odd but welcome presence throughout, and the percussion is far more interesting than I’d have guessed.

Does Young the Giant’s growth here mean that they’ll probably have a killer third album? Yeah. But that doesn’t mean that “Mind Over Matter” isn’t pretty darn fine in its own right.

Key songs:



“In My Home”


4 out of 5 stars.