Saturday, October 29, 2011
On Repeat: Youth Lagoon - Seventeen
Youth Lagoon is the moniker for 17 year-old Trevor Powers of Boise, Idaho. Nearly a year ago, I compiled a list of the best Indie artists from every state. At the time, Idaho was the dominion of the fantastic Built to Spill, but after listening to Youth Lagoon non-stop for the past month, the winds of change have come. For all the flack that Pitchfork gets for being pretentious tastemakers, without their rousing endorsement, Youth Lagoon would have likely remained in Idaho obscurity. Instead, they are on a US tour and getting the recognition they deserve in the wake of one of the strongest debut albums in recent memory.
Trevor Powers sings with a gorgeous, broken falsetto, registering barely above a whisper but somehow drawing strength from this fragility. At seventeen years old, most kids have little on their radar beyond college applications and the opposite sex, yet Trevor possesses a maturity and wisdom that is enviable to anyone. The song "Seventeen" is the best example of this powerful resonance, opening with an innocuous memories of swimming and hunting snakes, yet despairing the "nothing" that surrounds him. Before you have time to roll your eyes at this sentiment, he unleashes another epiphanic memory that brings chills and a lump in the throat, "When I was seventeen, my mother said to me, "Don't stop imagining, the day that you do is the day that you die."" After that line knocks you on your ass, the rest of the song is irrelevant as you've already decided you're going to listen to it again. Say what you will about teenagers these days, but perhaps they're a bit smarter than they let on.