A few weeks ago, my friend Anne-Sophie sent me a song called “True Love” saying “Knowing you, you’ll love this guy”. Listening to the first slow piano chords, I was torn – I only appreciate melodramatic songs to an extent as they can be a tad annoying.
After all, I am sort of a gloomy songs specialist, so I thought I’ll give it a try. I ended up listening to all of the songs from this mysterious guy called Tobias Jesso Jr. I couldn’t stop it, and also, couldn’t really explain why.
Maybe it’s because I generally like artists who have unsteady voices and share their stories about unsuccessful loves (e.g. Daniel Johnston). But also, something in Tobias is different. Different from all the singers that tried melancholic songs and fell into some musical pathos. With his puppy eyes and semi-long unbrushed curls (seriously, you just wanna give this guy a hug), the singer-songwriter stands on the verge of cheesiness, sure, but on the right side.
It almost seems like he comes from a lineage of cursed poets, to whom you wanna scream “cheer up dude”, but you don’t ’cause if they weren’t miserable you would surely be deprived of amazingly melodious tunes. Like this one.
His new album, Goon – released in the end of march – comports some songs that you might already know: the iconic “Hollywood” or the heartbroken “Without You“. Produced by Ariel Rechtshaid, it has Danielle Haim on drums and differentiates the main artist from his latest band, The Sessions.
It’s composed of 12 songs, which are all in the same vein – talking more or less about love and deception. Clearly, the artist survived from a bad breakup and is sharing it with us. And he has the power to still create a certain fascination. We feel like this record is the perfect excuse to sit alone in our bed drinking goon (see what I did here), singing really loud and dramatically without any shame. The ideal album to put in our post break-up playlist.
The 29 years old songwriter masters in the use of single melodies with basic piano chords. Apparently, he just learned to play piano when he was composing for “Just a Dream”. Besides, the Canadian artist explains that half of his songs are written by mistake. They can be considered as unfinished ballads, beautiful drafts that don’t need to be perfected.
With his raw voice and a huge sense of nostalgia, Tobias Jesso Jr. has a way of putting his misery out there, and it’s very touching. Just an advice though: careful not to listen to all his songs in the middle of a quiet night, or you’ll turn into a crying machine. But in the end, maybe it’s exactly what we want.
Hometown: Vancouver, Canada.
Latest Release: Goon, released march 17, 2015.
Sounds like: Natalie Prass, Father John Misty, Will Butler.
Say What? He teaches you how to play his songs on the piano here. What a great guy!