New Music: Tobias Jesso Jr. - Hollywood
A sombre tale of one man's encounters and failure with fame.
At some point in your life before you leave you school you'll have someone tell you you can make it if you you just try hard enough. It doesn't matter who you are as long as you give it your all. And most likely you will believe that, you will cling to that in hope that your dream will come true. Tobias Jesso Jr.'s latest single, Hollywood is an embodiment of that hope and how hard work alone often doesn't result in success but disillusionment.
The tale of Jesso is a sad one, in an interview with Pitchfork he revealed how he spent much of the 2000s as either a session musician or songwriter that never really made it. And upon returning to Canada he was run over by a car that nearly destroyed all movement in one his hand. Around the same time his mother was diagnosed with cancer, which she later recovered from. At this time he also began writing demos, some of which he sent to Chet 'JR' White, half of the band Girls who loved them and allowed him into a world that he had only once dreamed of. He has released only three songs so far, two of which you can hear in a beautiful La Blogotheque 'A Take Away Show' recording below:
Hollywood tells a tale of time before returning to Canada. It follows a partial narrative structure of his times of Hollywood. He sings about the destructive nature of trying to be successful (Hollywood), how hard work doesn't mean success (Faking it till you make it) and the inability to cope with it all. But perhaps the most powerful part of this song is when he extols his virtues, 'Well I'm a man / I was brought up right / I said my prayers every night / Since 1995 / And I pray God help me / I've done the best I could but I think I'm going to die in Hollywood.' There isn't much to Jesso and this song reflects it with his voice echoing throughout the track against a warm piano bed. But what both Jesso and this song have in common is a sad beauty which we can all relate to in our own small way.
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