Young The Giant reaches new heights with anticipated four-part album ‘American Bollywood’

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Emma Kogel

Illustration by

Aidan Sheedy, Copy Editor

I first heard Young The Giant playing NHL15 on my Xbox. Their 2010 certified-platinum hit “My Body” played endlessly on my TV. Seven years later, the band has brought me back to a sound I can fall in love with.

Young The Giant completed the extended release of their four-part album “American Bollywood” on Oct. 21. The album contains four parts: Origins, Exile, Battle and Denouement. Each part has four tracks, but in unison, they share the same message. All parts allude to lead singer Sameer Gadhia and his family’s story as immigrants, as well as Gadhia’s own spiritual journey.

Young The Giant has not produced an album since 2018 after uniformly releasing every other year since 2011. But the band’s fifth studio album is different from all the others. 

Since the pandemic, many fans like myself worried if the band was still as strong as it once was. Gadhia focused on using his platform to amplify artists of color by hosting a podcast “Points of Origin” on SiriusXM’s Alt Nation. Guitarist Eric Cannata and drummer Francois Comtois made music separately as the indie group Coma Culture and produced some great sounds during the quarantine period.

In the end, “American Bollywood” is more of a symbol than an album. Four years in the making, it represents the changes and identities of this band and each of its members. “So much of me is imprinted into this music,” Gadhia wrote in an Instagram post. “So much of myself and my identity has fused with this project that it’s hard to know where I end and American Bollywood begins.”

Act I: Origins

The first EP begins with the title track “American Bollywood,” which shares Gadhia and his family’s story of struggle from India to the U.S. and the pressure of fulfilling a duty as a man. It is this song alone that has been anticipated by fans and it definitely met expectations.

The music video is equally beautiful. Gadhia was able to incorporate home footage from his childhood to truly capture the emotions behind the song. This being the first track on the album, expectations couldn’t be higher.

The lone single released on June 15, “Wake Up,” previewed what to expect from the rest of the album. This song is where the story of “American Bollywood” begins. “A fever dream from the poet Vyasa of last lives and visions,” the band wrote in an Instagram post. “The journey of this band and all of our collective identity over the last four years.”

It starts with a smooth bass and satisfying lyrics of a rhyming Vyasa, an Indian sage. Cannata’s solo toward the end might be one of his best since “Eros” in the deep tracks of the 2014 album “Mind Over Matter.” Overall, this song is one of the best-produced tracks in the entire collection.

Part II: Exile

The second EP, “My Way” is a dreamy 3-minute twinkle about someone who yearns for a new way to love, other than traditional American life. The feeling is described with lyrics like “could have been a classic / Fatally attractive, suicidal kind of love,” and “move into the suburbs, father and a mother / Simple kind of appetite.”

A personal favorite, “The Walk Home” is a story of losing your true identity as it’s “lost in the algorithm of someone else.” There’s something familiar and soothing about Gadhia’s vocals asking, “can somebody walk me home?” Like a best friend or just someone you trust — that’s what Gadhia and Young The Giant have been to me for the last eight years. Young The Giant brought me back home with this one, and I thank them.

Part III: Battle

The opening track “Dollar $tore” is similar to “Jungle Youth” of 2016’s “Home of the Strange” album in that it serves the purpose of a break from the fluidity of Gadhia’s vocals and tranquil sounds to really lash out and scream. I love it when Young The Giant gets edgy. It shows another side of the band that is rarely seen and brings out each band member’s personality.

“Dancing in the Rain” is my favorite sound in Battle and competes with “The Walk Home” as my favorite in the album. Young The Giant utilizes Hindu imagery as Gadhia takes his journey back to his roots. This song is as powerful as it is catchy. All that needs to be said is, “Welcome to the kingdom kid / It’s good to be back home.”

Part IV: Denouement

While the first two tracks on this EP are not my favorite, it’s the last two tracks that make up what Gadhia and Young The Giant is all about.

“Otherside” is a story of boldness. If anyone wants to know how talented Gadhia is, this is the song I will share. What makes his voice so special is the range he possesses. Gadhia can change octaves instantly and produce a sound that can send chills down your spine. Gadhia himself even said in an Instagram post that this song is one of his favorites in the whole album, and I can see why.

Another exceptional track, in a Jack Johnson-like way, “Same folk” hit me right in the heart. Like a classic folk tale, this song is a children’s book written as a love story for adults, put into a song. It’s absolutely beautiful.

From these eight tracks alone, Young The Giant will reclaim their spot in my Spotify Wrapped No. 1 artist for the fifth time. “American Bollywood” was a musical extrusion. The layers of Gadhia’s spirituality and the musical talents of Young The Giant made me fall in love with what this band is all about. They’re real. These men write their own music, rehearse together and became a family. That’s what American Bollywood means— love and family.