MIC's Listen to Norway series continues with Johndoe's 'Ja takk til trøbbel' album
People like Johndoe because they don’t have a choice. I’m not saying everybody likes Johndoe, and I also know that liking music is never really a matter of choice. But with JD it’s amazingly clear what’s going on; it’s not you reacting to this music, it’s your body, it’s the sap in the limbs, the sway in the spine, the flex in the neck, the whoop in the hip, it’s that throb that’s not you but the horse you’re riding. This is so because JD’s music has a tremendous whoop; it has momentum to its energy, a sluggishness and weight that is rare and so different from most rock music, which is merely edgy, fast and loud. I’d like to compare the difference to that between a decisive blow in a heavyweight boxing match, and the nervous, quick, sting-like, pathetic strikes dealt in karate (movies). JD’s songs have this momentum to them; a quality inherent in both the melodies and structure, and in the execution. Anyone who’s ever played soccer knows the feeling of a perfect volley kick; it’s kind of slow, as if the whole motion is delayed; the ball hugs your foot like grandma’s face, and then it’s released with tremendous acceleration and force. This is the whoop of Johndoe. Many bands make rock sound like the failed volley kick; abrupt, untidy, untimely, painful, seemingly big, but actually feeble and very screechy. JD play it loud, they play it well and they play it with the whoop; more roll, less rock perhaps, like a small boat rocks but a big wave rolls. That’s why we like it. Critics all play soccer, so they all like it. And most of us others like it too; for the reasons mentioned; for the lure of music that is not silvery and shiny and tender and beautiful and elfish and dreamlike, but the big, fat, uneven and murky lure of reality on truck suspensions. The lyrics concern and address reality: an uneven one with a lot of friction, but in a playful, slow-dancing, bumpy kind of way. Just like the music. The words are not clear or transparent descriptions of some difficult everyday, rather they are semi obscure, un-valued, excerpt-like delineations of friction; the uneven ride of reality that is simply friction. And the laden, pounding, rolling friction is perhaps the heart of JD.