Katy Perry’s explosive success was bound to produce imitators, though it would be tough to match the vacuous inanity of Teenage Dream. Boston duo Young London is, unfortunately, up to the challenge. Featuring 10 empty and uninspired tracks of by-the-numbers dance-pop, Young London has a radio-ready sound that takes no risks. Devoid of deviance, sex, social commentary, outrageousness, or anything else that might make it at least moderately interesting, Young London is a parents-approved approximation of modern Top 40, the resulting compromise after mom won’t let her 11-year-old listen to Lady Gaga. (And if the kid seems a bit too interested in that Kanye rapper-guy, “Celebrity” even features an inoffensive West impersonator.)
This kind of music obviously doesn’t require much substance; some vapidity is tolerable with addictive hooks to make up for it, and there are some undoubtedly catchy bits here. Though both are plagued by juvenile lyrics and silly faux-crowd chants, “Whipped” and “The Good Stuff” are mindless fun, simple enough to hum along to on the first listen. Sarah Graziani is a solid singer with a voice built for this stuff—it’s too bad she has to split time with Matt Rhoades’ slicked-over emo whine—and there’s no question the two know how to craft a club anthem. Ultimately, though, Young London is too shallow for anyone but preteens to enjoy.