The title of Mura Masa's second album, R.Y.C., stands for Raw Youth Collage, and its contents zero in on all of the messy, uncertain feelings that come with young adulthood. Not quite as long or guest-heavy as the producer's 2017 major-label debut, the album feels much more personal and introspective, with lyrics directly addressing confusion and alienation. First track "Raw Youth Collage" features a sequence of barely connected thoughts ("I don't know who I'm supposed to be," "All my friends have changed," "I can't see past the screen") over chiming guitars and floating, atmospheric synths. "No Hope Generation" is a very millennial-friendly blend of pop-punk-lite guitar melodies and Auto-Tuned vocals describing the hopelessness of it all, while a trace of drum'n'bass breakbeats creep in below the surface. The other tracks sung by Mura Masa (Alex Crossan) himself continue in this vein, particularly the rollicking "Vicarious Living Anthem," and while the songs with guest vocalists all stay within the album's general themes of angst and escapism, they take much different approaches than Crossan's solo tunes. Slowthai's rowdy "Deal Wiv It" is about having no choice but to face a constantly changing world, while Ned Green's "A Meeting at an Oak Tree" is brief, imaginative narrative describing an awkward, suspenseful situation in a teenage relationship. Tirzah takes the lead on "Today," a downcast but still hopeful reflection on the state of the world, ultimately encouraging positive change rather than staying passive and simply letting the days pass by. Georgia guests on the disco cut "Live Like We're Dancing," easily the most determined, joyous track on the album. R.Y.C. is scattered and uneasy, but considering its subject matter and the emotions it expresses, it seems like it couldn't have turned out any other way, so it sounds undeniably genuine.
AllMusic Review by Paul Simpson