Roosevelt’s sophomore album not as good as debut

Austin ElliottContributor

German artist Roosevelt returns with his new album, “Young Romance,” for the City Slang label. This is his first album in two years, the last being his somewhat successful self-titled debut peeking at No. 11 on the Billboard Dance/Electronic Albums chart.

Similar to his self-titled first album, Roosevelt sticks to a synthpop, almost vaporwave-esque vibe. This approach is not surprising, as his artist biography lists him as a chillwave, a vaporwave sub-genre and pulls off the attempt really well.

“Young Romance,” is not without issue though. The first thing I noticed upon several plays is that the drum beats he used are unoriginal, and it feels like he changes one or two little things in it and hopes that no one will notice the monotony.

Likewise, a majority of the songs on this album feel like he is stuck on one set formula. Essentially what studio artists who can only paint or draw one face would do, but with music rather than drawings. This formula of him singing over a simple synth track with the same drum loop in the back already feels stale by the third cut, and it comes off as a slog to get through.

Roosevelt also relies way too much on a reverberation effect for the vocals, something that is understandable and common in this genre, but best used with moderation. It also does not help that a majority of these tracks can go for up to five minutes with little change in anything. Mixing here is a bit weak too; my personal theory on it is that Roosevelt’s vocals, which seem louder during the verses, are to try to hide the generic drum track while during the chorus they are quieter because there is more instrumentation to help cover that up.

It’s not all bad, though. After a few tracks Roosevelt breaks out of this rut and provides some decent tracks that show potential influences. “Yr Love” feels like it could have been done by the Fray if they had gone into electronic music rather than soft rock.

Likewise, “Losing Touch” is a song that could have fit into Owl City’s discography (around
the time of “When Can I See You Again?” and “Lucia” could have been a b-side for Electric Light Orchestra in the 1970s. Following this trend, “Illusions” is the definition of what a song emulating the sounds of the 1980s should sound like, and could have possibly been a hit had it come out at that time. These tracks are the ones that stand out the most, which makes it a shame that City Slang did not push either of these as the album’s single, instead of the comparatively bland “Under the Sun.”

Compared to his debut album Roosevelt does enot deliver as well with “Young Romance,” but
that does not mean it is necessarily a bad album. It is clear that the up-and- coming chillwave/indie artist has his influences and in some cases he uses them well. He has a lot to work on but it is a good album for background noise, and the only place for him to go is up. Personally, I would give “Young Romance” a five out of ten.

“Young Romance” can be streamed on all major streaming services,
such as Apple Music, Spotify and Google Play Music. Digital copies can be bought on iTunes, Amazon, and Bandcamp; physical copies are also available on Amazon and Bandcamp as well.

Photo Credit: Alexander Kellner


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