If you feel things, this album is for you. If you don’t feel things… maybe see someone about that because, wow, what’s that like?
Day6 have spent the last few years absolutely perfecting and dominating the darker toned punk-rock sound and concept. But, in Remember Us: Youth Part 2 they show how easily they are able to slip into a more vibrant, optimistic and brighter realm of music that truly showcases their talents and versatility. The album, although a slight departure from their usual sound, still feels very familiar and welcoming to listeners who are already fans but also to first-timers who may not have listened to them before. With rock and pop influences pulled from the ’80s, ’90s and 00’s this is an album that does nothing but show just how accomplished and brilliant Day6 are as artists.
The album kicks off with Hurt Road, a slow but punchy ballad where the vocals shine in a way that feels like a new interpretation of the more commonplace pop ballad by pushing the characteristic grungy Day6 vocals and leaving behind a cosier overall vibe to the song. It actually feels a lot like some kind of alternate-universe 90’s brit-rock Oasis hit. It’s sorrowful and pained lyrics perfectly foreshadow the rest of the album, especially their single Days Gone By.
Days Gone By
Days Gone By positively sparkles in your ears. It is lead by sharp, staccato synth chords and rhythmic thwanging guitar that take you right back to the colour popping 1980’s. It is so different to anything Day6 have released in the past and yet it is so distinctively them that part of you wonders where they found an actual time machine. It’s joyful, catchy and seriously hard not to jam to. The lyrics express a playfully positive post-breakup perspective (try saying that five times fast!) that is as heartfelt as it is relatable. Even when the lyrics contradict each other in echoing harmonies it feels exactly like your own inner struggles to fight for your happiness in times of sorrow. A triumph of a single that is truly the highlight of this album.
Headache & 121U
Next is Headache that slips back into the recognisable hard-core terrain we’ve come to know and love from Day6. It takes you back to a simpler time when songs were better when they were unbearably loud and your parents were banging on the door to get you to “turn it down!”. 121U comes next and It has a similar vibe to Headache in the drums but pays a lot more attention to the harmonies of the vocals and partnering melody on the guitar. If this album deals with different stages of a troublesome relationship then this song perfectly embodies that feeling of knowing someone’s bad for you but being unable to stop yourself regardless. “I don’t want to want you,” are the main lyrics in the chorus and they can really punch you in the gut if you’re not careful.
So Cool subverts the listener’s expectations once again and tips the scales into 90’s hip hop. With a Run DMC beat and thrashy chords smashing around, we still remain with our feet firmly planted on planet rock but there’s a small, uncharacteristic yet fitting rap verse and chanting back-up vocals that feel so completely 90’s that suddenly the title So Cool makes total sense. It’s fun, catchy and a welcome twist on their usual style.
Second to last on the album is Marathon moving from hip-hop to a more funky and soulful mood that highlights the vocal talents Day6 are known for whilst giving the synthesiser time to shine in a golden warm organ tone. The message here is to encourage the listener to go at their own pace, most prominently in healing and understanding their feelings during times in their lives that are difficult. It is an uplifting and sunny song that definitely gets its message across and continues the album’s journey out of the “darkness” and more painful messages into the final song.
Beautiful Feeling is for the fans and that much is clear in how uplifting the song feels as a whole. Each member gets a moment to shine and the lyrics send a beautiful message of support and thanks from the band to their fans. It’s a lovely and shimmering song to end the album with that leaves you with a warm heart.
Remember Us: Youth Pt.2 is a huge step for Day6, a real experiment in genres and influences that we haven’t seen or heard from them before, let alone the Kpop industry in general. For whatever reason Day6 has always found themselves just below the mega-hype of larger, more generic and manufactured groups and maybe that’s what allows them to so confidently produce such an interesting and individual sound. This album is a masterstroke in Day6’s career and a wonderful peek at what we can expect from them in the future.