In an interview with NME, nineteen year old George van der Broek, who goes by the stage name Yellow Days, cited Mac Demarco and Ray Charles as two of his musical influences. Although this mix sounds strange–Demarco creates calm and laid back indie music while on the other hand Charles is known as a pioneer of soul–Yellow Days somehow combines elements of soul and lo-fi music to create a captivating new sound.
Van de Broek’s “The Way Things Change” starts with a washed out guitar melody. As the percussion builds, heavy breaths become audible, leading up to the moment Yellow Days starts singing. A calm, relaxing, and quiet voice might be expected, but Yellow Days has a powerful raspy voice that contrasts with the backing melody.
The delivery is full of teenage angst. Yellow Days complains that “I cry and you cry ’cause we don’t like / The way things change.” He then follows this with the repetition of “you keep going / you have to keep going.” Change might be frightening for van der Broek, but he’s got to slog through it. I am around the same age as Yellow Days–and at a huge crossroads in my life. This fall I’m going to my freshman year of college, and I have spent many a night tossing and turning as I fret over my future.
Change can be scary and intimidating. Reactions to change in music are usually positive, and music is used by many as a way to promote change. But Yellow Days uses music to take a step back, and give people a way to relate or validate their fear of change. I choose to relate “The Way Things Change” to my newfound independence, but people fear many types of change–like an altered political climate or the loss of a loved one. What makes this a song I love is that it is able to relay a distinct feeling, in a way that individuals can put their spin on.
Yellow Days begins his United States Tour on November 4th, 2018.