Attention: TikTok star Lil Huddy knows how to swear.
This is a talent he is not afraid to hide on his fittingly angsty debut album, “Teenage Heartbreak”. This newest addition to the 2020s pop punk lexicon, which comes in at just over half an hour, features five previously released singles (“21st Century Vampire”, “The Eulogy Of You And Me”, “America’s Sweetheart”, “Don’t Freak Out” and “Partycrasher”) along with six new tracks.
The 19-year-old singer, whose real name is Chase Hudson, is one of the main faces of the 2020s pop punk revival. This is a genre that has evolved wildly from the early 2000s, with acts like blink-182, Good Charlotte, Fall Out Boy, All Time Low and others.
Hudson somehow doesn’t come off as any more inauthentic than his peers that also aim to revive the genre, at least in the mainstream. The genre is being nursed back to health by the likes of Olivia Rodrigo, the world’s newest teenage superstar hailing from the Mouse’s lab, and Machine Gun Kelly, who turned to pop punk on his fifth album after four full-length rap albums. Hudson and fellow emo-adjacent TikTok stars Nessa Barrett and Jxdn (Jaden Hossler), are not at all out of place with the record deals they scored via 15-second dancing clips.
The album itself is more enjoyable than what may be expected of a TikToker trying to rush something out before his 15 minutes of fame is up. On one hand, the extremely catchy “The Eulogy Of You And Me” has a lively backing track that could be heard being used by a more well-respected band.
On the other hand, the verse’s lyrics wouldn’t be out of place in the notebook of a seventh grader who just saw their crush hug another.
Similarly, “How It Ends” is a great album closer, especially in an age that seems to not care much for the art of an album and prefers to instead throw singles at the wall and see what sticks. Yet, one of the album’s biggest groans still makes it in there, with the unintentionally hilarious lyrics “Just like Titanic / she let me go / I drowned.”
Some lyrics are flat out confusing, such as “IDC”’s, “Life’s stressful / I can’t take it / but when I see you naked” and “America’s Sweetheart”’s “I don’t really give a sh*t if you stay / I don’t really give a sh*t if you go / I don’t really give a sh*t either way”. Hudson is only nineteen, his fan base skewing at even younger, which makes the more adult lyrics seem off-putting.
While pop punk in general has always been plagued with this odd dynamic of adult lyrics and young fanbases (Panic! At The Disco’s first album comes to mind), this feels especially strange on Hudson, who, by his own admission, didn’t exactly work his way up from the underground scene— he hasn’t even played in front of a live audience yet. The entire album comes off as a bit of a first draft of what could be a very good, albeit annoyingly edgy album. There’s only one ballad threatening to slow down the pace, the choruses are all earworms, there are some good instrumental breaks, but there’s so much that could have been better.
Alas, Hudson can only be a young star for so long and needs to hurry up and capitalize on his fame while he can. He has at the very least distinguished himself via his popular new style and entirely modern way of rising to fame from the bands of yore. As old groups break up, go on reunion tours or continue to trudge along as shadows of their former selves, teenagers like him, his fellow TikTok celebrities and Olivia Rodrigo have arrived to save the genre.
Or at least try to.
Natalie Katsaros can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @NevadaSagebrush.