Providing an intense, impactful, and passionate sound to listener’s ears, Hobo Johnson fights against assumptions about society today to present what is really true. Frank Lopes Jr. named himself Hobo Johnson when he began his music career after he was kicked out of his dad’s house at 19 and then started living in his car. Commemorating his car, he named his first album Hobo Johnsons 94 Corolla. But the traction started when Hobo Johnson and The LoveMakers showed their talent when they performed at NPR’s Tiny Desk Contest in March of this year. This set featured many songs of his but people listening particularly liked his song called “Peach Scones”. The newly made fans waited only a couple weeks until the release of The Rise Of Hobo Johnson. But this is only the beginning.
Moving onto the music, lets dissect “Peach Scones”. It begins with the sound of little pulls on guitar strings as he explains in his voice what this whole song is about. “He falls in love with a girl, girl already has a boyfriend. She kinda loves him back, but not really they’re just really good friends.” Are some of the opening lines to this song and you can feel the sadness of being “friendzoned” as you wait for the unfolding of why he loves her. He asks an array of questions preceding these lines most likely to this girl that he is talking to. He asks, in a sense, if she has a boyfriend and he immediately shuts himself out of the equation if she does have a boyfriend by saying, “disregard every time I call you pretty”. Through his fluctuation in tone and volume of voice he shows how relatable and common that this problem can be. “And I love the thought of being with you, or maybe it’s the thought of not being so alone” is repeated multiple times in this song I believe to drive the point through that he might not need her but just someone in general to be with him. Then it gets comedic but also extremely relatable. He seems to be talking to her at this coffee shop and states “I love” which you think he is going to say her but he then diverts to “these scones”. He then goes on a tangent about scones most likely out of fear that she will catch on about what he was really trying to say. We’ve all had times in our lives where we are scared to share our feelings and Hobo Johnson embraces the awkward with this song. Saying something like “she’s a peach…scone.” is something to say out of fear to avoid if don’t feel the same way you do.
To continue with love and awkwardness, we now move to “Romeo & Juliet”. However, this song is much darker and though it is light-hearted with the theme of Shakespeare, it talks about failing marriages and his personal experience from his parents. Instead of talking about the awkwardness that happens when you profess your love and they don’t feel the same way, he talks about the embarrassment that Romeo Jr. might have to face if his parents were to get a divorce. He then proceeds to tell his own experience, of the dressers and lamps knocking down from his father talking to his mother about divorce. He then ends with “But forever hear the sound, and boy, it’s tough ‘cause that’s the sound of people falling out of love”. This shows the versatility of love and that it may be so perfect like Romeo & Juliet in the beginning, but in the end it seems like there are no happy endings.
Due to Hobo Johnson’s journey, he became predisposed to an array of emotions and ideas about how love, marriage, and everything in between works. He opens the wounds of the past in several songs such as “Peach Scones” and “Romeo & Juliet”. What is truly telling about this artist is his sense of awareness and not backing down from something taboo that he believes needs to be addressed. With this, Hobo Johnson gives people a chance to realize they are not alone. It gives everyone an opportunity to feel the way they feel through his songs. Hobo Johnson and The LoveMakers are definitely ones to watch as they start their music career. His fall tour (officially called “Bring Your Mom Tour”) has just recently started. He is traveling many places and Chicago specifically Friday, November 2nd and I have no doubt in my mind that it’s going to be a blast and don’t forget to bring your mom—he encourages it!