By Samuel Stevens
Release Date: October 30, 2020
Genre: Indie Pop, Rock
Label: Arista Records
The 21-year-old indie-pop artist Taylor Upsahl, or better known by her stage name UPSAHL is back in the spotlight with her second EP, Young Life Crisis. Originally from Phoenix, Arizona, music has always been around Taylor since quite a very young age. Both her grandmother and grandfather were music teachers. She’s also the daughter of rocker Mike Upsahl, who is currently part of the rock band Surf Through Death. Her father was formerly in the rock band High Horse and the post-hardcore band Stereotyperider. This guided Taylor on a path in music following the family trade and eventually beginning to write original music at a young age as well. Young Life Crisis was written by accident in the middle of the COVID-19 quarantine, then shortly later recorded in UPSAHL’s childhood bedroom in Arizona.
Taylor first made waves with her own music in 2019 with her debut EP, Hindsight 20/20, that also released alongside her first major single, “Drugs.” This set off for an eventful 2019 for Taylor with a spot on the 2019 edition of the Lollapalooza line up and went on tour supporting a barrage of acts that include Pvris, Young the Giant, Max Frost, Broods, and Joywave. For Taylor, last year additionally brought on some insane experiences for her songwriting. She co-wrote the track “Good In Bed” for Dua Lipa’s chart-topping 2020 sophomore album, Future Nostalgia, and writing music with many fellow pop artists among Anne-Marie and Madison Beer, to name a few.
“It’s me narrating the young life crisis that I had in 2020. I made this EP by accident. I, along with most people, have had a shit show of a year. This has been the hardest year of my life. I truly think that writing it is what got me through,” states UPSAHL.
Young Life Crisis initiates with the grungy, impressive title track “Young Life Crisis.” Each song on Taylor’s brand new EP set themselves out on their own musically, something made possible when she worked adjacent to a different producer for each track featured on the thirteen minute EP. Regardless, the title track sets the tone for the remainder of the EP. While “Young Life Crisis” opens as more of an alternative rock number, the song quickly builds up and blossoms into its true indie-pop self. The tune is produced by dwilly. By using metaphors, the title track -as is as the rest of the EP- is about the tempestuous year Taylor and many other people around the planet have had this year. The next track on the EP is the lead single, “MoneyOnMyMind.” This track was produced by the two producers Absofacto and Kosuke Kasza. Once again, while utilizing intricate metaphors in the song lyrics, it tells a story of someone stepping out or being cut out of your life that was no good for you. And now you’re flourishing better without them in your life. The wildly infectious, guitar-driven melody you hear in the song’s chorus is sure to stick with you for a while too.
“People I Don’t Like” is exactly how I -and likely many others- feel about some parties and other social gatherings myself. “People I Don’t Like” is both co-written and produced by Johnny Shorr. The song is extremely bass-driven throughout and is pretty unconventional in all of the right ways. The track expresses the frustrating social dilemmas that can occur at parties and other social gatherings. All these fake appearances are put on by everyone that leads to many empty conversations, compliments, and an unfortunate obligation to stay and mingle, with drinking and other favours being ways to cope with it all. However, this really could be a bit of a lyrical façade. With everything going on this year -and how this EP is a narration of Taylor’s life in 2020- one can assume the song is really about coping with the isolation and stress that all of the global populace has and continues to embrace. The final track on Young Life Crisis is the sombre number, “Fake Bitch.” The song is unlike any other song on the album and is in the form of a heartfelt acoustic ballad. The lyricism displayed on “Fake Bitch” feels very self-reflective of UPSAHL and explaining the changes that she has gone through as a person over the course of 2020. It’s essentially an affirmation of Taylor accepting her new self and not wanting these changes to ever change again. It’s the perfect way to summarize her Young Life Crisis.
“I’m a completely different person now than I was in March. It’s a 180. Even if the world wasn’t a mess, I’m 21. I still don’t know what the fuck is going on,” UPSAHL explains on her growth over this year.