Friday, March 20, 2015

Album Review: Tobias Jesso Jr. - Goon

Heartbreak is universal. Everyone either has, is, or will experience a deep feeling of heartache and loneliness that accompanies a break up. Tobias Jesso Jr. is suffering from just that, and through his beautiful lyricism, you will swear you were feeling the pain as well.

Break-up albums have been done before, a lot. However, Goon revitalizes the common trope with beautiful piano and instrumental sections paired with his unique voice. Sounding like he was plucked straight from McCartney-era Beatles, Jesso covers topics from wondering how he will live on in the absence of his girl, “Without You,” to cursing her for finding another man, “How Could You Babe,” all while attempting to move on and forget the past.

Instrumentally, the album’s main focus is on the piano. Often times the piano is the only thing accompanying Jesso’s voice, holding long chords as Jesso quietly broods. Simple yet elegant, like the album’s theme, the piano carries on from one track to the next.

The album’s longest and central track, “Hollywood,” signifies a shift. Throughout the bulk of the song, it is Jesso and the piano. However, as the end approaches, horns began to be heard and the song devolves into a controlled chaos of horns and piano. From this point forward, the tone shifts. Drums begin to accompany piano and the Jesso’s outlook seems more optimistic, maybe even sarcastic, “Crocodile Tears.” The penultimate track on Goon, “Leaving LA,” sparks hope from Jesso as he comes to the realization there is nothing left for him there.

In the process of clearing out his own heart, Jesso creates a break-up album that is simultaneously heartbreaking and uplifting. Jesso is truly able to make the listener feel what he is bleeding onto the paper. Goon is a remarkable and refreshing album in a bogged down genre.

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