“Devil in Paradise” – Cruel Youth

Two years after the release of their critically-acclaimed debut EP +30mg, Cruel Youth has (finally) returned to the music scene with the release of “Devil in Paradise.”

The new single seems appropriate as their comeback track to the music scene. Coming right off the bat with an angsty, distorted country-rock vibe, “Devil in Paradise” progresses heavier into its  aggressive guitar riffs while expressing her dread for the west coast.

Front-woman of the group Teddy Sinclair sings “I’ll never go back to Hollywood, I’ll never back to California,” which could be a subtle nod to abusive music industry practices — Rebranding her image from her previous work as Natalia Kills, Cruel Youth might have sold their soul to Hollywood in hopes for fame and fortune. Artists commonly suggests this idea where they’ve sold their soul to the devil, which can be applicable for Cruel Youth.

As the track title suggests, selling their soul to the devil has brought them paradise. Half way through “Devil in Paradise,” the single takes a sharp left turn (for the better) when, in a classic sensual-synth pop manner, the whole first half of the tracks message is disregarded.

“Sipping French wine with the Devil,

Coastin’ by the Hollywood sign with the Devil,

Getting that money on time with the Devil,

Mama said ‘don’t you go signing with the Devil.’”

“Devil in Paradise” demonstrates the dual realities of being an artist in the industry, based on Cruel Youth’s experience. To gain fame within the industry is a devilish game played in the midst of success and luxury. But it’s just that — an industry game. In the last lines of the final verse, she sings “no one’s gonna know you, better show them your potential,” but is immediately cut off with an audio sample of a woman saying: “Pussy! Coochie, cha-cha, You better show him your pussy bitch before you get your ass blacklisted!” Teddy Sinclair exposes the unfortunate reality for many up and coming female artists in the music industry, and how female sexualization is, at times, praised over talent and artistry.

The interludes in the track almost victimize the industry’s wrongdoings. What can be interpreted as the voice of the industry,  they preach over a soft piano:

“After all that I —

After all that I do for you.”

Teddy Sinclair doesn’t hold back on “Devil in Paradise,” and reminds us what Cruel Youth is really all about. The new single is available to stream on all music streaming platforms.

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About the author

Shahin Rafikian

Shahin Rafikian is a first-year graduate student in the Communications, Culture and Technology program. Born and raised in the Washington, D.C. area, he’s spent much of his time in the past few years living off of thrift shop finds, eating at AYCE restaurants, and going to a handful of concerts. His favorite artists at the moment are Billie Eilish, SOPHIE, Mitski, and GFOTY. He has an unhealthy obsession with PC Music artists/affiliates of the label, and regularly mourns for the loss of Charli XCX’s leaked tracks that will never properly see the light of day.

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