The rollout for AJ Dávila’s new solo album has been marked by the classic struggle between lightness and darkness. While “Beautiful” and “Post Tenebras Lux” have been mostly positive in their outlook, “SS Youth” represents a bitter political struggle as it rages in real time, with upbeat melodies battling the darker textures of the Dávila sound.
AJ’s raw and reverbed vocals spew forth melody after melody, laced with pure joy while guitar arpeggios in minor keys cue a storm brewing within the Spanglish lyrics. As Dávila told KQED in February, the track is an allusion to the Nazi youth. “Propaganda controlled everything that they did. And now, we think we’re living in a time of freedom, filled with capitalism and and liberty and justice for all, but no, it’s the same. The youth — instead of inheriting their parents’ values — their new parents are the television and the propaganda that’s all around them. What they see on television or what they hear from a politician, they believe it, and they act accordingly.”
In the chorus, Marcela Viejo of Mexican cult electropop band Quiero Club brings another shade to the mix, conjuring a mixture of 70s glam rock and Sonic Youth at its grungiest. The whole track is a celebration of melody against the tension of instruments scraping loud and low. The outro features a messy but satisfying build, thanks to horns and other instruments piling on top of one another.
“SS Youth” is the latest single off AJ’s album El Futuro, which drops on May 5. It’s produced by Sergio Acosta of Zoé and released on Acosta’s own Panoram Records. AJ will celebrate the release of the album with an appearance on Festival Marvin in Mexico City. You can preorder El Futuro here.