Photo Credit: Jordan Knight
You might just be asking: Who – or what – is LILHUDDY (or “Lil Huddy,” as it seems to be sometimes written)? Basic online information tells us that he’s 19-year-old Cole Chase Hudson, a Stockton, California native who’s yet another social media personality and is best known for helping to create something called “the e-boy style” of fashion, primarily on (where else?) TikTok. With all of that out of the way, let’s talk about his debut album. The name alone, Teenage Heartbreak, is an obvious throwback to rock’s earlier, more (comparatively) innocent days when this type of theme and title were common (to the point of becoming clichéd). Upfront, it’s impossible to discern here whether the phrase is intended as truly sentimental or merely sarcastic. As it turns out, there’s quite a bit of both on the record.
Although most of Teenage Heartbreak is easily categorized as “mall punk” – even getting the stamp-of-approval from one of the genre’s main mentors (back to that in a moment), it’s pleasant to report that there’s more substance and character to the record than that description would outwardly suggest. The album opens with the title track, which right away treats us to some clever (if cynical) lyrics (“We make out, make mistakes // We go through hell for heaven’s sake // Find out love is f*cking fake // That’s teenage heartbreak”), as well as Hudson’s singing voice, which is also relatively strong.
“Partycrasher” is also tight and solid, while “Headlock” employs the same echo effect, which has been overused in, pop music over the past few years but still manages to find and grab onto its own distinction. Listeners will have to decide just how much they care that “IDC” (“I don’t care”) sounds unmistakably like Blink-182. Speaking of which, it seems like it wouldn’t be a true 2020s pop punk project without some kind of appearance from Travis Barker, and that’s exactly what we get (drums) on the single “Don’t Freak Out” (which starts as a ballad before rocking out).
Not everything on Teenage Heartbreak – to put it bluntly – is good. “Lost Without You” is pleasant but ultimately no more unique than its title. And “No More – Interlude” at less than two minutes is pure filler and also loses major points for its lyrical similarity (“Every time I look at old photos // My broken heart gets bulldozed”) to Nickelback’s “Photograph” (cringe and a half). However, “21st Century Vampire” is a fun, bouncy pop punk tribute to… goth (“Dark circles under my eyes // No sunlight up in my sky”), which still manages to incorporate the album’s underlying “teenage heartbreak” theme (“Save your heart for someone who’s got one”). The closing track “How It Ends” concludes with the music dropping and the artist singing the last twenty seconds of the song a capella, which is frankly pretty bold.
The same can’t necessarily be said for Teenage Heartbreak, as it does sound quite similar to a lot of other releases in the same genre from the past two decades or so. However, there’s no question that the artist shows promise and has the potential to grow. LILHUDDY’s background on social media might make his pursuit of a musical career seem at best dubious, but then we have to remember that in London the first shots fired by the punk movement were through fashion, not music. Teenage Heartbreak certainly isn’t the harbinger of anything as impactful or far-reaching, but it is a fun listen.