Yotam Ben Horin
Young Forever (Double Helix)
Charles Rocha: “I never really found my place in this world. I’m like a traveling circus. Lost in a zoo, some people are cruel. I know I won’t be like that.” So go the lyrics on “Back to The Start”, the opening track of my favorite record of 2022. Yotam Ben Horin’s Young Forever is a melodic epic that travels “In Between The Highs and Lows” of a young man’s journey into middle age, guitar and notebook in hand. Immediately following a punk rock Beatlesesque opening, mellotron and angelic harmonies included, the album kicks into high gear with drums and trumpet as guitars ring loud. The song sings like a battle cry within the songwriter, something yearning to get out. Which makes sense, because this album, Yotam’s fifth, is not necessarily synonymous with the singer’s punk rock band Useless ID. The album may appeal more to the emo enthusiast who stocks his record collection with Jimmy Eat World’s Clarity or Saves The Day’s Stay What You Are, rather than the newest NOFX or Pennywise record. Speaking of, Jim Adkins, lead singer for Jimmy Eat World, makes an appearance on the title track, “Young Forever.”
The album takes a turn back towards intimacy, as the songwriter tastefully finger picks his acoustic guitar through “Here With You.” A beautiful song with a chromatic mellotron turn to its final chorus. This song will undoubtedly find itself right at home on the next mixtape you make for your significant other. “Leopard” comes in next with a jangley guitar tribute to Yotam’s ’80s and ’90s alternative rock favorites.
“Santa Monica Pier” is without a doubt, my favorite song of the year. The melody is immediately infectious and classic, and the lyrics and chords are simple and memorable. The song paints a picture and guides the listener through complex human emotion like a page out of the book of proverbs. The harmonies hit in the final verse and pull on your heartstrings in all the right ways. The sign of a truly great songwriter is when the artist can pull you in with just his voice and a guitar.
“Boy With Glasses” always reminds me of my best friend Paul Martens, who tragically passed away in 2020 after a car accident. Paul introduced me to Yotam Ben Horin around 2017. He would pull out his acoustic guitar and play Useless IDs “Jukebox 86” as he sat on his bed next to me in a room we shared in his mother’s house. The song always brings me to tears. Yotam sings about his old friend from school and their connection through music.
“Pessimistic Heart” helps remind us about the power of music and the redemption we can find in the chords and rhythms of the songs we love. “I’ll say Fuck off to all these insecurities” kickstarts our hearts back into gear. “Go” sings like a scene from a classic American film, “Don’t be afraid to fly, don’t be afraid to know, Cut through the skies, Leave the past behind, Don’t be afraid to try, Don’t be afraid to go.” A beautiful Penn-ultimate track to setup the final track, “Across The Sea”, a love song from another world. “Young Forever” is a masterpiece of emotional output. The record reads like a novel. It paints a picture that rivals any Van Gogh I’ve ever seen. And when it’s over it feel like a classic American Movie that you want to watch over and over. I have listened to “Young Forever” over 100 times this year, and look forward to listening to it more than that in 2023. And you should too.
That Summer are Young Forever: That Summer’s single “We’ve Already Said Goodbye is out now.
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