Jawny takes it slow in new album

Funky lo-fi pop music has been Jacob Lee-Nicholas Sullenger’s style since he started releasing music under the stage name Johnny Utah in 2016. Now he goes by Jawny and has elevated his style beyond bedroom pop to groovy guitar numbers paired with fun lyrics and raw vocals. 

Jawny first caught the internet’s attention with the release of his song “Honeypie” in 2019, which is a trendy track with stellar guitar sounds and repetitive lyrics. 

Jawny’s newest album, “It’s Never Fair, Always True,” was released on March 3 and followed six singles that are all featured on the album. The most prominent is a track titled “strawberry chainsaw,” which is about being in love with someone who is “harsh” one day and “sweet” the next.

Jawny uses moving lyrics like, “No space big enough for how I feel / I’d show you with my hands if I could, dear” to show how the song follows someone who is still in love despite this back-and-forth behavior from their partner.

This album is a little bit of a change in pace from Jawny’s typical music style, featuring slower, simpler songs like “i look better when i’m in love” and “selfish hate.”

Another one of these slower songs is titled “fall in love,” which has bittersweet, breathy lyrics over increasingly intense piano and violins. This concerns the complexities of still being in love with someone despite being broken up with lyrics like “I left my heart and my wallet / So, if you see my name, that’s why I’m calling,” and “She goes ’round my head like a merry-go-round / I hate the fact that she’ll never know.”

Jawny is an American singer and songwriter from the San Francisco Bay Area. Photo courtesy of @jawnyutah, Twitter

Though these slower-paced songs don’t mean there aren’t some upbeat tracks reminiscent of Jawny’s usual genre, songs like “adios” and “lalala” feature metaphors and long-winded, personal lyrics. These ideas aren’t necessarily happy but are paired with cheerful and idealistic instrumentals, reminding us that one thing Jawny is definitely good at is giving us music to dance to.

Another great example of Jawny’s notable style of music and fun lyrics is “wide eyed,” which is arguably one of the best songs on this album. This song is catchy and rhythmic in the best way possible. The chorus focuses on the major theme of this album, which is being in love and completely enamored by your partner with the lyric “Hey, you got my heart in your holster, babe / I wanna live in your goddamn veins / If that’s okay.”

In the second verse of “wide eyed,” Jawny deals with another underlying theme of this album, which is the contemplation of death and human existence. This is evident in the lyric “Life has no meaning, it’s inherently a gift / Find acceptance in absurdity in the meaninglessness.”

This theme of human mortality is also seen in songs like “death is a dj” and “everything.” The song “death is a dj” is similar to “wide eyed” in the sense that it mirrors Jawny’s memorable funky style while making a heavy topic danceable and lighthearted by putting the lyrics “And now I’m dancing with someone I don’t know / Where death is a DJ at a party / Spin me round like I’m a barbie / And I can’t even run from it, it’s obvious” over quirky guitar-driven music.

These songs have already made their way onto my playlists. Jawny put out a really great album that definitely deserves a listen. He deals with some very interesting topics while branching out from the genre he created for himself and keeping his signature charm.


4/5 Stars



Featured photo courtesy of @jawnyutah, Twitter