Day 3: Johnossi – Johnossi
- The Show Tonight (3:50)
- Execution Song (2:14)
- Glory Days to Come (2:54)
- There’s a Lot of Things to Do Before You Die (2:38)
- Man Must Dance (2:34)
- Family Values (3:30)
- Press Hold (4:34)
- From Peoples Heart (2:58)
- Santa Monica Bay (2:35)
- The Lottery (4:00)
- Summerbreeze (2:52)
There aren’t many rock duos that pack a punch, like Johnossi do. With their 2006 self-titled debut album, Johnossi, they come out swinging and don’t stop until the final seconds of “Summerbreeze”. The Swedish duo have earned comparisons to the Black Keys and White Stripes with this album. Sweden’s version of the American White Stripes and they damn near come close to achieving it.
Thoughts on the tracklist
You would think that Johnossi could pack any punch with the folksy and clean acoustic intro of the opening song “The Show Tonight”, but that thought is erased when the clean acoustic guitar is replaced with Engelbert’s distorted electric guitar and kicks down the soft acoustic into harder, edgier rock. With this album, Johnossi seemingly loves to fuse, smash, and crash different genres into one… such as the bluesy ballad “The Lottery”, slamming into Southern rock. Contrast that to the folksy blues porch picking of “Man Must Dance”.
“The Execution Song” sticks out the most. Rapid-fire vocals that are strung out over guitar that slices and dices it’s way through the verses and pounds away through the choruses. As one person put it: “a throwback to 1960’s style garage rock”. Need a head-rush? “The Execution Song” provides that.
“Glory Days to Come” mixes gloom-pop with hard rock with a driving vocal bridge of “shoot baby shoot”. Lyrically speaking, it’s not half bad with lines like “You don’t built a city in a day, but in twenty years you should have something”.
“Man Must Dance” is the magnum opus of the album. It goes from a bluesy, porch-picking style of guitar and music and slides into a sharp post-punk sound.
“Man Must Dance” stands out as the most ear-grabbing tune on the set list, from the casual lope of its acoustic-guitar riff to Bonde’s subtle interjections on percussion. But then those creationist-baiting lyrics pop up, and suddenly Johnossi is working on a whole new level of intrigue: “We’re the people/ The happy with the broken hearts/ The ones who draw a picture and proclaim that it’s art/ But you, and you, and you and you/ You’re just an animal developed into,” sings Engelbert, as if pointing a wild finger to the members of his audience.
While the sound and style may make dramatic shifts during the album, lyrically, the themes rarely change with most revolving around soul-searching and/or angsty situations
Some are poignant, like the wishing-for-a-happy-home “Family Values”; some are reassuring, like the self-explanatory “There’s a Lot of Things to Do Before You Die”; although (uniquely) the pretty, yearning “Summerbreeze” is outright nasty.
Thoughts on the Album
It’s definitely a lot different from anything I have ever heard before. A album that can swing from various styles of rock and does it effectively where you’re not wanting to play something different. With his many different guitar effects and set up, Engelbert turns a seemingly boring, plain, and clean acoustic sound into a dirty, distorted, and echoing sound.
I wouldn’t say that this album puts this band on the same levels as either the Black Keys or the White Stripes, but it puts them close to that level.
That said, so long as the Swedes continue to flatter Americans listeners, American listeners will continue to love them. There’s just something endlessly tickling about hearing the rock ’n’ roll canon sung back to us with a Scandinavian accent. And with plenty to chew over lyrically and music to knock your socks off, Johnossi is proving the power of two’s might.
The Execution Song:
Man Must Dance: