‘The Fall of Hobo Johnson’ needs to reach more listeners


There is a lot to unpack with Hobo Johnson’s third album, “The Fall of Hobo Johnson.” Between the distorted vocals, the funny social commentary and the emotional rawness there is something to be said about every song.
This album starts off with “Typical Story,” which was one of the first songs released from the album. Hobo Johnson, whose real name is Frank Lopes Jr., stated that he wanted each line to be a standalone story on its own.
Each mini-story pushed together in this narrative-style piece compels the listener to really pay attention to what Lopes is saying. As a plus, the chorus is catchy as well.
While talking to my fellow Hobo Johnson fans, they said their favorite track from this album is “Mover Awayer.” This song shows up second in the lineup.
He talks about love indirectly with the lyrics “She makes my Mondays feel like Fridays / She makes my Ruby Tuesdays / Taste like Benihana’s.” I think this is one his more docile songs on this album and I appreciate the change of pace right after “Typical Story.” “Mover Awayer” feels like a calm down after the former track.
“Uglykid,” the next song, is even slower than the first two. This song talks about his insecurities with his weight and looks, which is something almost all of us can relate to.
Lopes’ motivation behind not only this track, but the whole album is to make people feel less alone. I believe that to be a pretty noble cause.
The next song, “You & the Cockroach,” is something. Please give it a listen if anything just to laugh. This song is what I meant by social commentary. This track is like a mix between a song and a TED Talk. This is the first song on the album where Lopes’ insane ability to emote really shows. Although, “You & the Cockroach” at times comes off as unprofessional.
Lopes stumbles over his words a couple of times. I appreciate his acceptance of mistakes and being able to roll with them, but I don’t think it’s appropriate for a studio album.
“Subaru Crosstrek XV” is more than just an advertisement for the car if you’ve been a fan of Hobo Johnson for a while. When Lopes released his first album he was living out of his 1994 Toyota Corolla, which that album is named after.
Now, instead of working in a pizza shop and sleeping in the back seat of a car, Lopes is a signed artist with some kind of stability. He even got signed on his first try. Surprisingly, Lopes did not make any kind of brand deal with Subaru before or after this song came out; he just likes the car that much.
“Moonlight” calls back to “Mover Awayer” and also “Romeo & Juliet,” which was featured on his previous song. This song looks at a relationship after infatuation fades. And the next track, “Happiness,” comes off as more of an apology than a story.
Contrary to the title of the song, this is not a happy song. Instead, it talks about a lack of happiness and how Lopes wants to find it. It also talks about the lack of happiness in other people and how he caused that.
I haven’t heard a lot of talk about the next track. “All in My Head” is another social commentary piece and this one does not have a positive outlook for the future of society as a whole.
Lopes speaks about how “they brainwash these little kids in rural towns / To make them think they should just all think the same.” Lopes is just putting his ideas out there, and I appreciate the bluntness of his observations.
“Ode to Justin Bieber” is less depressing than the last song. It’s not as stupid as you would presume. This song is about people’s perceptions of famous people.
Lopes likes to keep his personal side and his professional side separate. This is why he chose to have a stage name; also he thought that his real name was boring.
This song also talks about the expectations that are put on a person who reaches fame by their family and close friends.
“February 15th” is the shortest song on the album and was recorded live. This song uses the same melody that is used in “Peach Scone,” the single that jump-started Lopes’ success. In “Peach Scone” Hobo Johnson sings “I love the thought of being with you / Or maybe it’s the thought of not being so alone.” In “February 15th” he sings “I’m gonna be alone forever / But I’m getting used to the thought / Except late at night.” While this is the shortest song, I think it is the most impactful and definitely worth a listen.
“Sorry, My Dear” is my personal favorite from this album. There’s been some criticism that because of the distortion of the vocal the song is not pleasurable to listen to. I think that’s the point.
In my opinion, this represents the distorted thoughts inside his mind.

The deafening chorus, rather than being annoying, feels almost necessary. The lyrics “Smother me with pillows and kindness, in which I’ve never seen” stuck out to me right away, but it’s not the only part of the song that expresses the vulnerability that Lopes is gifting us with. The whole song is him exposing himself in a way that most artists can’t achieve.
“I Want a Dog” is Lopes’ last song on the album. It talks about grandiose plans for the future that will probably never happen, but are nice to think about. These things include a successful child, a talking dog, and gaining respect.
This whole album is a rollercoaster of emotions meant to make us feel less alone. If you have time to spare, please listen to the whole thing and then listen to it again.
The thing about Hobo Johnson for me is that I rarely love his songs at first listen. Rather, I’m just intrigued with what he is saying. It takes understanding of the message for me to really appreciate his work at the level that I want.
To me, Lopes is more than just a musical artist. He’s a poet and a story-teller. He’s able to put into words what others are feeling and that’s a talent matched by few. This album is an amazing example of his talent and I crave more content from him.

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