Daily Discovery: John Moods Gets “Frank”

Jonathan Jarzyna carried around his song “Frank” like “dead weight” for a long time. “The song is sort of easy-going,” he says. “Some other songs on my current record have much more of a story or philosophical point of view. The point of this song is to just let loose, stop thinking and not say anything, let the rhythm roll and the band play.”

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Formerly a band member of Fenster, Jarzyna later adopted a new moniker: John Moods. He began releasing a string of singles in 2018, leading into a debut LP titled The Essential John Moods. He later returned for a couple of one-off singles the following year before building into his brand new record, So Sweet So Nice, out today (August 6) on Arbutus Records.

“Frank,” co-written with J.J. Weihl, nestles into the album’s middle, a hypnotic dose of calm and warmth. “‘Frank’ is a play on words, the name of a person and the adjective meaning to be candid or straightforward and honest,” the singer-songwriter tells American Songwriter. “As a person, they like to be lazy and let things hang and don’t feel guilty about it. They want to live and love fully and believe sometimes saying too much can create more noise and confusion, so better talk less or not at all.”

I know my shoes got nothing to prove / They let the rocks kick ’em while they’re down, he sings over an indie/folk/pop blend. Guitar pops like falling stars, yet it is his voice that keeps you mesmerized, as you witness it cascade across the satiny melody line.

As his favorite line in the song, it showcases the song’s subtle humor. “A musician friend and I always talk about that every song should have at least one ‘spaghetti moment,’ as he refers to it,” says Jarzyna, “Meaning that even if the song’s serious, using big concepts and emotionally evocative language, it is good and important to insert something like spaghetti into the song at some point to create that beautiful balance that can make it great.”

In his songwriting, Jarzyna opts to “focus on feeling over concept,” allowing for the universal human emotions to guide his hand rather than outlining a story that may not be nearly as affecting. Originally from Berlin, he owes his guitar teacher Alex everything for fueling his drive to make music. “[He] said one day, ‘Here’s how you write a song.’ He played any random two or three chords and immediately sang some gibberish over it,” he recalls, “Then looked at me and said, ‘See, how easy it is.’ It was quite mindblowing to twelve-year-old me. Until then, I had believed songwriting was some mysterious alchemical process where you’re struck by the lightning of inspiration by the gods of music.”

Listen to “Frank” below.

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