Johnny Tobasco is singer-songwriter from the UK. His brand new single “The Only Way” was released 25th April 2020. Johnny’s curious and convention-defying blend of influences is a formula that once pushed indie rock and alt-pop music into a new frontier. His style is unpretentious and unambitious, but in a good way. He sticks a beat and melody together, and just has fun singing it. It fact he states as much on his website: “A Singer/Songwriter with no clue what he is doing other than singing! What happened to singing for no reason, what happened to forgetting how our voices sounded and just letting it out there! There is something very freeing when you stop caring what people think of you!”
And as such, it would be unreasonable to expect a sudden departure from that claim. Principally Johnny Tobasco makes music for the enjoyment of what he is doing. Hence he is far removed from the pressures that dictate how a song or singer should sound to achieve mainstream success.
In fact “The Only Way” takes us back to maybe a better, purer time in music. No glossy, gimmicky production, no computer aided vocals, and no featured rapper on the track to draw attention. Damn, Johnny doesn’t even have a video with half naked women waddling around the set on all fours.
Instead Johnny Tobasco seems to be surrounded by rich organic instruments, led by a cleanly strummed guitar, a bouncing drumbeat and a singalong melody. His ability to take what would normally be a simple guitar progression and turn it into something vividly catchy is intriguing.
There is a shocking disparity between Johnny’s studio recording, and those of our current wave of pop stars. They all sound like they’re in competition with everything, including the studio furniture, while Johnny Tobasco sounds more laid back and relaxed about what he’s doing.
There’s almost an innocent sense of adventure transpiring from “The Only Way”, as Johnny sings his way through it with energy, but with an ease of tone. He won’t feel a failure if he doesn’t make it to number one on the charts, or to the front row on Grammy night.
Those pressures don’t befit him. He knows what he’s doing, and he does it well enough to craft a fine earwarming organic sound. Johnny Tobasco dives right in singing after the intro. He’s got something to say, and he isn’t going to wait to tell you, or sugarcoat it in any way.
The jangling guitar lines are the driving force of the music. The drums are insistent, neat and tasteful, which is a good thing in this scenario, as they keep the momentum of the music going along very nicely. The bass is simple as well, and fits in perfectly. What’s left, is a tune you could easily hum along to, and that’s a darn rarity in today’s musical bombast.
“The Only Way” is best enjoyed on the porch on a clear summer day, with the volume turned right up to the top. And don’t be afraid to singalong!