What does "Parents" by Yungblud mean?
“Parents” Lyrics Meaning
(The following blog post is a transcript created by Xalma of the below video.)
Today we're talking about "Parents" by Yungblud. Is it deep? Is it just angry? We'll see. So let's talk about what he has to say in this song; jumping into verse one.
I was born in a messed up century
So the 1900s because he was born in 1997, I second-guessed myself because he looks so young; I thought he might still be a child, but no.
My favourite flavoured sweets are raspberry amphetamines
I bought a car, Beretta, age 16
I brush my teeth with bleach 'cause I ain’t got time for cavities
So he bought a Beretta at the age of 16, which is a type of Chevy; he brushes his teeth with bleach because he hasn't got time for cavities; and yeah, who does?!
My daddy put a gun to my head
Said, "If you kiss a boy, I'm gonna shoot you dead"
So I tied him up with gaffa tape and I locked him in a shed
Then I went out to the garden and I fucked my best friend
Well, that started out sweet, minus the amphetamines; and then it got kind of INTENSE, and I don't know if it's worth holding out on you guys any longer; but obviously this song is about "what parents get wrong!". I agree with him that the 1900s were a messed up century; WWI, WWII, the Cold War, Vietnam War, lots of different wars; but to be fair, what century hasn't been messed up? And apparently he's messed up too, because he's doing drugs, which is... great I guess! He tells us a little about himself; he doesn't like cavities, he bought a car when he was 16, and he is basically setting this picture, saying "here is my life"; a one which is somewhat normal; and then, all of a sudden... Boom! His dad puts a gun to his head, and says "hey if you're gay, I'm going to kill you"; And in all fairness, I think that this has actually happened to some people in real life; I'm not personally familiar with any specific stories; but as far as I could find on the internet, there was nothing about that actually having been Yungblud's/Dom's story. Yungblud is if nothing a rebel; and so he immediately ties up his dad, and then goes and has sex with his guy friend.
What is the point of this verse? Describing a normal, and maybe a little bit messed up kid, with a parent who really seems to be kind of awful; so then the kid is like "I'm just going to rebel, screw you". Then we get into the chorus where we hear a little bit about the theme of the song.
'Cause my high hopes are getting low
Because these people are so old
The way they think about it all
If I tried, I would never know
He's calling out people of his parents age, which at this point if he was born in 1997, they would be approximately in their 40's. I love how one of those complaints is "because these people are so old! it's oldness that is the problem; so get rid of the old people!". Well, if you can't tell yet, I think Yungblud is kind of dramatic; and catch that first line "'Cause my high hopes are getting low"; now, is this a subtle reference to Panic! At The Disco?
My high hopes are getting low
But I know I'll never be alone
It's alright, we'll survive
'Cause parents ain't always right
This is a huge theme that we see in youth cultures; these sort of anti-parent songs, or anti-establishment song; it's this idea of "I know I'll never be alone; it's alright, we'll survive"; which at least it's not "I'll survive, I'm going to make it on my own"; because he still has that need of community; and minus the community of parents, because of that feeling like they're not on his side; he like many young people, immediately goes to his peers. Then we have that last line "'Cause parents ain't always right"; I think it's good that he doesn't say that they're never right, even though they are old; but it's just they aren't always right; and that's a very true and fair statement. Nobody is.
Then we have verse two; which I don't think is a true story either.
Put a toaster in my bath, watch my mum and dad laugh
See a thousand volts go through the son they wish they never had
They told me casual affection leads to sexual infection
But it's hard to get an erection when you're so used to rejection
Now it really does sound like he and his parents have had some sort of a falling-out because of his sexual preference; I don't know if it ever got so dramatic as toasters in the bathtub; but you never know! Okay, you do know this time; because I don't think that anyone can survive having a toaster thrown into their bathtub.
"The casual affection" is an interest in the same sex; and "The sexual infection" is probably their way of referring to homosexuality.
In this next half of the verse he gets into talking about the hypocrisy, which whenever somebody does takedown parents or the government or anything like that; a lot of times the most popular route to go is to refer to hypocrisy; because unfortunately it is true, and it's there.
Yeah, the teacher fucked the preacher
But then he had to leave her
Had to wash away the sins of a male cheerleader
"Hi, nice to meet ya," got nothing to believe in
So let me know when my breathing stops
So it's basically all of these people who talk about not having sex; are the ones who are actually going and doing it secretly; and here's this preacher who's having sex with a female teacher, to redeem himself after doing it with a male cheerleader; as if this is how it works! And at the end of it all, Yungblud says that he has got nothing to believe in; because these people who were supposed to be authority figures in his life; those people who he could have trusted; have let him down. That's a very post-modern belief; you know? A big part of post-modernity is basically looking at authority structures, traditional ones, like families, and the traditional leadership of the father maybe; or looking at churches, and the traditional leadership of male preachers; or looking at the government; and basically saying "look, it's all a construct; the authority is just there because we let it be there"; and then basically saying "I'm not going to let it be there; I'm not going to respect that authority, because it feels arbitrary to me". So throughout the song, he is pointing out the hypocrisy, and maybe the the lack of the right-to-lead of parents, of teachers, of preachers; and basically saying "I don't really feel like I have any authority structures left to believe in, so I'm going to go back to that community of peers"
Many good things have come out of post modernity; and one of them has been the questioning of authorities legitimacy, and this idea of "we can't just let people in authority get away with stuff; just because they're in the authority"; and that is super healthy; but I also question whether maybe Yungblud is throwing out the baby with the bathwater. He like many of us need things and people to believe in; and that doesn't mean we have to let them be the boss of us or whatever; but we do you know there are good people out there, right? And at the same time, I think it's up to those authority structures to admit that they are not perfect; to take on a whole lot more humility than most of them seem to have; to be willing and able to point out their own mistakes; and to apologize for them, to ask for forgiveness, and then to move forward; just in the same way that everyone else is expected to do.
The basic story of "Parents" by Yungblud focuses on one of a sexual nature; talking about homosexuality; he's basically saying that parents who want to resort to violence, and are willing to attack their own family members, based on sexual preference, are in the wrong; which couldn't be more accurate. And then he uses this as a launching pad, to basically attack any hypocritical authority figures. For my taste, it's a little bit dramatic, and it lacks some of the subtlety that I prefer in my songs, the ones that dive into deep philosophical conversations and all; but it's at least an opinion and a perspective that's worth listening to, considering, and evaluating.
Maybe one of the most important things he says was in the part where he talks about feeling so low, and at the end of verse two when he says "so let me know when my breathing stops"; it's this lack of trust, that has emptied him from feeling both good and bad things; it is like a self defense mechanism; and he's basically saying "all right, I'm just going to live out my life until I die, whatever I guess". If you feel like you are in a similar situation where the authority figures have failed you, and you're not really sure what to trust, and so you've kind of receded into yourself a little bit as sort of a defense mechanism; I just want to say, there are people that you can trust; but yeah, there's no one that you can trust to be perfect; if you can find somebody who you feel like you can trust most of the time, and who is able to acknowledge their mistakes, and apologise the rest of the time; you need to stick around that person; and if you haven't found them, it might be that you need to become that person yourself, or just to keep looking.