Release Date: March 17th, 2015
Label: Arts & Crafts
I was late to the Tobias Jesso Jr fanclub because I was a little reluctant to be a fangirl of who would probably end up being the next Sam Smith. But the more I listened to Goon, the more I realized these songs are worth all ears. The lyrics are full of depth and TBJ’s voice is just so naturally expressive that it shines through when the production is minimal.
Goon begins with the crooning piano ballad “Can’t Stop Thinking About You”. You can hear the depressing of all piano keys and the pedal, there’s a rawness of it that draws you in as he sings about heartbreak. At that moment we all wish we are Marianne. “How Could You Babe” is also a piano ballad, but has a rather lo-fi analog quality to it that it could sit alongside other 70s power ballad singers on a playlist and it would sound like it belonged.
It’s not all piano ballads. In “The Wait” TBJ wields an acoustic guitar in a Nick Drake-esque tune. “For You” is a timeless pop-tune with all the instruments reinforcing the melody in unison while “Crocodile Tears” injects a little bit of rock into this record. Besides heartbreak, TBJ also swims in the fear of failure (“Hollywood”).
What’s special about Tobias Jesso Jr is that he sings about being wounded, but in his voices we can genuinely hear those wounds. Goon in this definition clearly doesn’t mean “hired thug” but “a foolish person”. One that clearly made mistakes along the way and is still suffering the consequences (of a broken heart).