On their second album, Young Enough, Charly Bliss succeeds in creating their own flavor of pop music, one which doesn’t shy away from disastrous events or thoughts but nevertheless persists in its classic pop buoyancy. The efficiently-moving album begins with a microcosm of its entire message. “Blown to Bits” is a song which is initially a classic ramp-up track you would expect to find at the start of an album, but it also establishes the tones the rest of the album will be juggling. The song is essentially about how silly, mundane, and even bad this world in which we live is, but how seeing it “blown to bits” is still going to “break my heart.” Vocalist Eva Hendricks says these lines frankly, but with her bright and charismatic voice, the song still retains its pop bones. The song appropriately contains lyrical references to Rilo Kiley and Mitski, two artists with a trademark balance of melancholia and hooks, to further underline the inspirations which are informing Charly Bliss’ latest endeavor.
The album continues at high energy for quite a while, without shying away from any weightier song subjects. “Capacity” is an early track which sings about the struggle to always feel “on,” and to be a people-pleaser who is available to everyone and everything always. On this track, and later on the standout centerpiece track “Young Enough,” the influence of producer Joe Chiccarelli is especially felt, with both songs feeling akin to the atmospheric highs of his work with the likes of U2, and the Shins.
Unlike most albums, the second half of the album has a bit more energy and dynamism than the first half. While “Blown to Bits” is a good introduction, Hendricks’s vocal performance (and the effects thrown on it) feel slightly out of step with the rest of the album. “Capacity” is great, but follow-ups “Under You” and “Camera” are mostly alright, with a heavy lean towards the pop-punk sound. They are energetic enough to keep you listening, but they don’t immediately contain any interesting touches that make them stand out from the superior songs around them.
The center of the album features an interlude in “Fighting in the Dark,” the beautiful simplicity of which bleeds seamlessly into “Young Enough.” This track, which is about making peace with your past decisions and your past self, achieves that perfect balance of high-energy pop, with big sound and vocals, and slightly melancholic and world-weary lyrics and vocal touches. It opens up the album in an exciting way which indicates that the band has ambitions towards something more than just pop-punk nuggets.
The following tracks “Bleach” and “Chatroom” are both spunky, fun songs that employ musical touches and handclap-ready energy to differentiate themselves from the other pop songs on the album. They’re followed by the lone ballad of the album (albeit, a power pop ballad), “Hurt Me.” This doesn’t slow down the album at all—if anything it offers a calming breath—but rather gives a moment to the real heartache underneath many of these songs. In its way, the inclusion of “Hurt Me” is indicating that it is OK, and often necessary, for those who are smiling through the pain to, every once in a while, let a tear fall.
The penultimate track “Hard to Believe” confronts the feeling of being addicted to a very bad relationship, but it is one of the most buoyant songs on the album, exemplifying Charly Bliss’ mission to help listeners dance through the pain and anxiety of everyday life in 2019. It would be a great album-closer, but instead, we have one more track in “The Truth,” which is a fine track but in the vein of “Under You,” doesn’t do too much to separate itself from the album as a whole.
Young Enough is a reliably fun and energetic pop album and is especially suitable for those listeners who have trouble forgetting about, well, everything while trying to enjoy a pop tune. With Charly Bliss, your anxiety or your fears are used for dance fodder, and it lessens the load just a little bit.