We are a bit behind on our review of Goon, the debut album by Tobias Jesso Jr. Between attending SXSW and also completely falling for the album, I spent more time listening to it than worrying about writing about it, so we fell behind.
Goon was written after Jesso had a rough year. He went through a heavy breakup, got hit by a car as he was biking, and then found out his mother had cancer (we have heard she is fine now). He took this dark time of his life and made music that is relatable to the listener.
By far, my favourite song on Goon is Without You. From the very beginning, the lyrics…”Why can’t you just love me? Should I move on, or should I wait?” rip at your heart, while his soft echoing voice over the piano throw off a true John Lennon vibe.
Jesso, himself, said that suffering is “the main ingredient for a good love song.” Without You, and several others on the album, prove his point and capture his suffering well throughout.
Not that it is all heartbreaking, the song For You is a happy sunny love song while Crocodile Tears, runs close to being cheesy and funny with his fake crying, yet still manages to come off endearing. On the song Hollywood, Jesso embraces his failure in LA as a ghostwriter for pop bands.
Jesso has a connection with his listener that makes him seem approachable and makes the songs work. He like the rest of us, can be a bit of a hopeless romantic when it comes to looking at life.
Goon can be sad and if you are in the proper mood, possibly make you cry, but it’s also laid back, mellow, thoughtful and reflective, all the things that make a damn good listen.