Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Music Review:
Jonny Shitbag & The Smokes
"You could not have given the slightest of fucks"
(Hidden Bay Records)


If you should ever find yourself listening to music so that you can write about it, you will want to note that the most important quality of what you write is about the music itself.   This becomes apparent once you begin to listen to instrumental music and find yourself without lyrics to quote because many of my early reviews were done during the time when emo was popular and as such I would review albums specifically from labels like Victory Records and the bands would tend to sound similar but I'd just pull out the one-liners I enjoyed most.

With Jonny Shitbag & The Smokes, I cannot stress enough the music quality here.   It's dark at times, but also could be a mix of garage and bedroom pop.   It has those hints of EFS at first which will help to ease you into it, but the drum machines are fun and there is even a somewhat new wave feel to it at one point.   When you get into a song like "Big and Small" it can get heavier but overall I'd just place it somewhere between High Pop, Vandals and Iggy Pop.

When I first heard this album from a Bandcamp point of view, the only song I could stream was "The Song 1-1" and I really do enjoy that song- I feel like it could be a radio single- so listening to this whole album and having that song pop up is really rather brilliant.   I think more artists/labels should release singles if only because it can bring you that familiarity when the whole album comes out and that makes you feel more like "Yeah, I know and like this one song, so these other songs can't be so bad"-- it makes you more accepting of them all as an album.

At some point as I've written about music though I began caring less about the lyrics and more about the music itself.   If you can spew out clever one-liners it doesn't matter if you sound like a thousand other bands.    With Jonny Shitbag & The Smokes, the music quality is here but it caught me off guard because so is the lyrical content.    On a song such as "Jesus or George" the title of the cassette is being sung and it's actually rather appealing to sing along with it.   This is also not the only instance where you will get these songs stuck in your head and want to sing along.

And then I think about a line like "I never used to care about this shit at all".   For as long as music has been around, it feels like everything has already been said and done.   I will be among the first to admit that.   I am also not one to use cheesy cliches because I feel like they are a) overused and b) cheesy cliches for a reason.  That being said, within these lyrics is something profound, yet so simply stated that it can appeal to most anyone.   While the musical quality of these songs is on par with any of its peers (if not a step above it), the real story here is simply that Jonny Shitbag is the voice of a lost generation.

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