Angry Baby previously described indie artist Johnno Casson as a national treasure when we wrote about his two 2017 albums, Future Melancholy Pop Music and Human Good and as befits such a label, here we are writing about his new album, The Best of Johnno Casson.
Spanning eleven years and taking in Johnno’s work under his own name and under the guises of Snippet and Old Tramp, the tracks chosen do indeed take us through the best of Johnno’s career. Borne out of a suggestion by songwriter and BBC broadcaster Tom Robinson, this album celebrates Johnno’s fairly prolific output, whilst also introducing him to those not yet acquainted with his music. The numbers in the latter camp must be dwindling though, seeing as Tom announced Johnno as the most played introducing artist in history.
One of the joys of listening to Snippet or Johnno, is the quintessential Britishness of the lyrics – a masterclass of witty,wry observations that will keep the songs at the front of your mind for days. “I’m not religious but God deliver me a drink” is one of the lines from ‘Let’s Talk About Us‘ that has stuck in my mind. Similarly, “Let’s talk about us but think about me” is a classic line that encapsulates exactly what is meant when someone want to talk about a relationship; talking about ‘us’ is code for ‘it’s not working for me’. The premise of the whole song is described using that one lyric.
Before you read on, Johnno is giving a FREE download of “I Love Your T Shirt”, to Angry Baby readers. If you’re not already subscribed to Angry Baby, just pop the email address that you’d like it delivered to here and it will be on its way to you straight away, together with a bumper collection of music that has been shared by Angry Baby. The music comes from outstanding artists that you may not have heard before. With a mix of rock, pop, folk…you name it…there’s bound to be something new that floats your musical boat, and all for free! What’s not to like about that?!
My stand out track for this album is ‘This is Essex‘, not only because it’s a great song with evocative lyrics, but because this Essex girl loves to hear a song about the places I was born and bred amongst. It’s not often you hear Jaywick Sands, Brightlingsea and Mersea in song lyrics and the song is really a love letter to Johnno’s adopted home county. It’s made me itch to get back there soon!
Johnno’s quirky look at life threads throughout his lyrics and another classic is “look down your pay scale” from ‘Middle Class Ways‘, a song from Future Melancholy Pop Music. Gentle satire of this sort is so gentle, it’s actually quietly devastating. You don’t have to have come across the class system at work to appreciate this song.
‘We Luv the Sunshine‘ is an annoying catchy song that will have your singing just those three words for weeks and ‘Man Without Mobile‘ is a genius idea of a song that uses less than ten words over the whole three minutes. Flawlessly demonstrating the quirky nature of Johnno’s lyrics, ‘Marvellous Life‘ spends the first half of the song describing the downs of life begore switching to the joys that can be found in life if only you choose to look for and accept them. Getting a cat sounds like a ‘marvellous’ idea here [both Angry Baby partners have pets – two cats and two chihuahuas and are happy to verify that getting pets is indeed ‘marvellous’], if only you’d just open your mind and choose you own ‘marvellous life’.
Back in 2017, Johnno’s advice for aspiring musicians was:
“Take the time to cultivate your sound, don’t rush it, be inspired by others and add your own unique elements as you go (and grow). Practise writing songs and learning your instrument lots – a big goal is in being able to deliver your message well in a 3 minute song – try different styles to see what suits you, be bold, make mistakes, have fun. And when you feel ready to share your work put a few songs out as demos on places like Soundcloud, so you can get feedback on what you are doing and also use online advice and tools found at places like Fresh On the Net and BBC Introducing”.
However, he has very kindly provided as with an updated version that works just as well:
“Just be creative and things will happen, write songs and music for yourself first and foremost. And remember that only you should measure your success as an artist because someone else’s measurement will nearly always pitch you against a mainstream artist and always lead to disappointment and lost confidence. Does making music make you happy? If yes just keep doing it & enjoying it & things will happen”.
The Best of Johnno Casson is released on 26 April on Quirky Sounds Records. Get your copy here.
Follow Johnno at:
And get your free download of music from Angry Baby now, including Johnno’s “I Love Your T Shirt” – just pop your email down below!