Jay-Jay Johanson is one of the most stylish men on the planet. Period. Ever since his debut album, Whiskey (1996) he has sported a perfectly dishevelled shirt on his album covers. Nobody wears a shirt better. I especially like the Grandad shirt he chose for the cover of his new album, Self-Portrait. More on that later. For now, let’s focus on the man himself.
How do you define sex appeal? Is it possible? Some might prefer an immaculately groomed type, not a hair out of place. Personally, I feel that a man is most sexy when he doesn’t really care too much about his looks. A fine line to tread, mind you. The beardy, way-farer urban poet look is quite common these days but it looks so try hard on some. With Mr. Johanson this is a completely natural way of being. Effortless, easy, a little bit crumpled, a little bit unkempt [I love this word] and quite a bit sexy. I wonder if that shirt’s from Cos? The stitching and proportions seem very familiar. Cos do very nice summer shirts by the way. Go with the collarless versions. Or even better, hack off collars that don’t sit right. Just cut along the stand and, VOILA!, a lovely collar-less shirt with edges that fray nicely after a few washes. You can’t skimp on price if you want a well-cut collared shirt. I reccomend Prada, Lanvin or Margiela for one of the those.
You know how it is these days; you hear a great track and check out the album. You’re not convinced and so you pick out the OK ones and download them on iTunes or add the album to your Spotify playlist instead – at least you don’t have to pay for it. It’s rare that you find an album where every song is a vital piece to the puzzle, even the weaker tracks. Somehow even those tracks lend a balance to the album. Without them the narrative is incomplete. Perfection can after all be found in the flawless or the imperfect. The type of albums I mean are for instance: Miles Davis‘ Some Kind of Blue, The Blue Nile‘s eponymous debut, Talk Talk‘s Spirit of Eden, Nina Simone At Town Hall... I could go on forever.
Jay-Jay Johanson’s Self-Portrait is one of those beautifully balanced, sensitively composed records. It focusses on MELODY, something that seems to be increasingly absent in music. Each song is delicately crafted and Johanson’s deeply moving, melancholic timbre is cushioned by lonesome piano riffs, haunting drums and elegant strings. It’s at times optimistic, contemplative and heart-wrenching. This is as personal as music gets. Mr. Johanson literally wears his bleeding heart on his perfectly imperfect sleeve. Go listen_