I like Krysta Youngs for many reasons, foremost of which is that she has something to say and she says it expertly with notes, lyrics, makeup, eyeglasses, costumes and songs. Youngs plays with your mind while entertaining your eyes and ears and she does it in spades in Prescriptions. The lyrics are wickedly clever poetic rapiers drawing blood painlessly, set to music more addictive than cocaine,
Trained at Berklee College of Music, America’s premier music college, she Some call what she does alt. pop, others say its electronica, or even EDM. Whatever you call what she does, her new EP, Prescriptions makes it crystal clear that Kysta Youngs is a superb artist, a fascinating woman and a very, very talented musician whose commentary on life sometime draws blood, but always draws applause. Prescriptions will garner both.
The buzz about this EP is for her breakout and very pointed song, “Xanax (a love song)” which uses a metaphor of the anti-depressant drug that represents one out of every eight prescriptions written in the United States to seduce a lover while commenting on society. But Youngs has so much more to say in the seven songs on “Prescriptions”, all of in the heart-wrenching cinematic music that she assembles and presents with her own altered persona. It is no wonder that her music has been featured on ESPN, MTV’s The Real World, and Keeping Up With The Kardashians and many, many songs by top artists.
The album kicks off innocently enough with “It’s My funeral”, which sounds like a funny take off on Leslie Gore’s 1963 hit, “It’s My Party”. It’s not. With lyrics like “Pushed my heart into the grave didn’t get to catch my balance” and “Stop, stare at me now/ Heaven is when I am right next to you” you know that Krysta is making a statement that she can find herself and her peace now that you are gone, but wouldn’t mind the company…”It’s my funeral and I’ll cry if I want to” notwithstanding. A relationship is dead, but you can’t help humming along.
Just to keep the mood light, at least on the surface, Youngs serves up “Running with Scissors” warning that if he doesn’t let her go “I will make You Bleed… I’ll break your back, pierce through your heart”. But it is all delivered with a kind of ukulele chord and light guitar riffs and quick-step pace that makes it so, so fun to listen to….if you ignore the words. Just listen and don’t mess with this girl.
“Absent-minded Professor” takes us deep into pop territory. The hooks and riffs abound; we can almost see her on stage in a frilly, low-cut dress fliting with the audience. Except, since this is Krysta Youngs, the lyrics are a statement – after all she has something to say and the lyrics, “We’re all just a little bit crazy, we’re all trying to find our way” shout an anthem for a young generation bopping to a stream in their headphones. And, if she is on stage, she might be in the frilly dress, but she would have topped it with oversized black eyeglasses that make her a happily distorted model of a pop singer.
Not content with slightly twisted but very informative pop, Krysta glides into “Lone Wolf” saying with sweet venom “Take ya to the wild side/I don’t wanna be e e/A lone wolf/Howling at the moon for you.” She doesn’t howl, but the echo, whispers, chord progression and slithering cymbals make this just as spooky.
My favorite song follows and puts us on final approach, “Silence and the Clock”. A slightly menacing tick-toc guitar strum frames powerful lyrics, sung low and bedroomy and then crescendoing into the highs Youngs is capable of. She sings “How does it feel/To know We’re dying the same way?/Does it freak you out/To let go/If we’re going to the same place? But tempers it with “Seize the day/Don’t waste away” – good advice for anyone and advice she obviously takes routinely.
She wraps up the EP with her hit “Xanax (a love song)” about which much has been written. Suffice it to say that both versions on the download – one a little more dreamy and distant than the other — stick in your mind. She sings that she wants to “become your habit, calm you down like Xanax”. There are far worse habits than Krysta Youngs and few as pleasurable, but approach Prescriptions carefully. Read all the warning labels and understand the side effects. Carefully decant it into your ears, close your eyes and let it effuse into your bloodstream and alter your reality. You won’t realize until it’s too late that these Prescriptions are addictive and you are hooked.
Patrick O’Heffernan. Host, Music FridayLive!
Prescriptions by Krysta Youngs
Available on iTunes, Spotify and Soundcloud