There is often heated debate within music about what artist or song is “the soundtrack” of our generation. Is it the hazy bedroom pop of the likes of Beabadobee or Alfie Templeman? Is it the politically engaged screeching of Sports Team and Slowthai? Is it the seamless and subtle lyricisms of Loyle Carner and The Streets? Perhaps, or maybe it’s a song about a self-reflection of a faltering, fictional Gen Z alter-ego with a sampled Peep Show reference.
'The Good Delusions’ new release 'Jüss' Ballad' is a soulful and emotional character study of a failing Generation Z teen, named “Jüss”. Beginning with a sample of Peep Show’s Mark Corrigan’s infamous epiphany- “You know Jez, I’ve started to get this feeling I’m totally fucked”- the tone is set for a melancholy yet poignant reflection on the ups and downs of being an urban teen in the post-modern world.
Like most of the Good Delusions’ releases, “Jūss’ Ballad” is relatable yet not cliched, successfully walking the fine line between charming and overkill.. The conversation sounds much like what you might overhear as drunk teenagers sit on park benches, discussing the roller-coaster ride of growing up. The emotions of “horniness” and “tiredness with life” give the lyrics a bit of dangerous edge, yet also provide the track with undeniable honesty and realism which most songs on the radio lack. With soft drums and subtle rhythm guitar, the melody aids the lyrics to deliver a low-key, gentle ode to coming-of-age.
Hailing from West London, the Good Delusions have previously released tunes with more of a punk punch, replicating the heavy and vivacious sound of influences such as the Jam and the Clash. After four years of looking for band members, frontman Gabriel Wyszynski and drummer Max Kenway began rehearsing and writing as a duo, joining the recent illustrious succession of rock duos such as Royal Blood and Slaves. With Wyszynski’s father’s carpet warehouse acting as a rehearsal room, the band have released four singles and played a number of gigs, including a headline show at 150-capacity Basement Door in Kingston. With immense stage presence, powerful vocals and a vibrant array of onstage attire, Wyszynski is a classic punk frontman, with Kenway providing impeccable rhythm and power- making up for the lack of bass and secondary guitar.
Yet, 'Jüss’ Ballad' doesn’t need heavy drums or punk distortion. It simply isn’t that kind of track. You wouldn’t have a bass drop in the middle of a Catholic confession. No, this track is much too reflective and sobering to have the same overdrive and energy of the other Good Delusions’ releases, but this is far from a bad thing.
To sum up, whilst Beabadoobee and Sports Team get the radio plays and the streams, the Good Delusions’ “Jüss Ballad” is a track that Gen Z teens can really relate to. Forget the hazy drum beats and the low-fi vocals, Wyszynski and Kenway provide a track which really replicates the conversations of our generation, all with a hint of Strummer snarl.
Words by Thomas Farmer