Rapidly-rising artist Frank Lopes Jr., better known as Hobo Johnson, released his sophomore album today. Titled The Fall of Hobo Johnson, the record is a an interesting follow-up to the first recording, The Rise of Hobo Johnson, pursuing similar musical themes while at the same time moving into new terrain.
As indicated in the album’s titular inversion of the first project, Hobo’s new work opens up broader space for exploration than his previous projects. Specifically, it shuttles between the intimate world of self-doubt, shame, and uncertainty, and broader themes of politics, world conflict, and history. Ultimately, though, it is less a shuttling-between than a candid look at the messy interplay between the political and the personal.
The Energy of Breaking Musical Boundaries
Musically, The Fall of Hobo Johnson continues to revel in the hybridity that has defined his earlier work and for which he has become known.
His vocal delivery ranges from simple sing-song rhyming, to free-flowing poetry reading, to the painful guttural cries. While Hobo is known for disregarding and transgressing distinctions between musical genres, it is at times hard to tell if the rudimentary rhyming on many of the album’s tracks is a self-conscious decision or a musical shortcoming.
Despite this, Hobo’s vocals playfully complement and run on top of far-reaching instrumentations that blend elements of hip-hop, rock, folk, and punk. Moving from the upbeat horns of “Uglykid” to the moody electronic distortions of “Sorry, My Dear,” listeners never know where the next track will take them.
With the exception of only some very brief lulls, listening to the album is generally engaging, fun, and energizing.
Celebrating the Outcast and the Misfit
Hobo’s lyrics—the questions they explore, the messes they look at, and the conclusions they suggest—are arguably the most interesting …
Author: Nick Lindsey / High Times