Double Singles: “Young” by Lukas James


Joey Jones, Opinion Editor


There is no musical trend I find more displeasing than the ever-present success of the White Guy With an Acoustic Guitar model.

A White Guy With an Acoustic Guitar or WGWAG (pronounced: wigwag) is a constant, always somewhere in the musical landscape. It has a rich and aggravating history, with notable examples from the past 25 years like “Lullaby” by Shawn Mullins, or “I’m Yours” by Jason Mraz. Additionally, a sampling of the WGWAG “genre” would be incomplete with the discography of Teddy Geiger or Shawn Mendes (who performs songs written by Teddy Geiger, incidentally). It’s a subgroup of songs and songwriters that have existed for many years and likely won’t go anywhere.

“But”, you might interject, “acclaimed, classic groups like Crosby, Stills, and Nash are white guys with acoustic guitars! There are tons of great songs that feature white dudes playing guitar!” Yes, this is true. But they’re not WGWAGS, and not all WGWAGS are white guys playing guitar. The White Guy With an Acoustic Guitar is a style. It’s typically characterized by shallow songwriting, masked by feigned depth and overwrought singing. A song like “Jar of Hearts” by Cristina Perry is a WGWAG despite being a girl with a piano.

These songs typically are about love or heartbreak, contain a strange amount of bragging, and are sung in unspecific pronouns like “we” or “you” to manipulate the audience, like the debut One Direction hit “You Don’t Know You’re Beautiful”, or the newly-released song “Young” from Lukas James.

Lukas James is an 18-year-old singer-songwriter from Sarasota, Florida. He’s very new, both to the music industry and music itself, having only played guitar and sung for around 2 1/2 years. While this fact serves to make me a bit merciful in my judgment, his inexperience shows. ”

Young” is a proto-typical WGWAG song. It contains unspecific “we” statements, like “It feels like we will be forever young/but we grow up so fast, we’re just holding on/to the pieces of broken dreams that didn’t come/but we keep on holding on”. This is the chorus and would be acceptable if the verses supported the idea. But in typical WGWAG fashion, he ends up bragging in the verses, saying “I’ll always hope I’d be the one who would get here/but I never really know/broken guitar these calluses on my fingers/I play ’til, my dreams came true”

This actively contradicts the idea that he’s “holding onto the pieces of broken dreams”. It’s just a brag. But I shouldn’t rag on him too hard for that. It’s songwriting I’d expect from a cocky high school student who just attained a lot of success very quickly. He could be much, much worse. His guitar playing, while simple, is serviceable. His singing isn’t bad either, even if it’s a little plain. Admittedly, the melody and chorus are catchy enough to be tolerable.

It’s a very middle-of-the-road sort of track marked down by amateur songwriting and is worthy of a strong 4 to a light 5. I don’t plan to listen to this song ever again, but I wouldn’t judge anyone for enjoying it in the way I’d instinctively turn up my nose to “Hey Soul Sister”.

“Young” can be found on Youtube, Spotify, Apple Music, and all other video/music platforms.