Joyce Manor is back with a brand new single ‘Gotta Let It Go’. This new single features short, sweet and to the point songwriting style. Mixed in with the familiar brevity and bouncy riffs. Lead singer and guitarist Barry Johnson sings with his traditional grit but offers a fresh vocal flair with his falsetto in the track’s opening moments.
The shift in vocal style on this new track is well executed. Johnson reaches his high pitch to dazzling effect over a rhythm that hits as hard as 90s alternative anthems like ‘Graduate’ or ‘Say it ain’t so’. The hook on ‘Gotta Let It Go’ is efficient and precise and reminds me of the focused rock-hits of Rivers Cuomo . Johnson, much like Cuomo, is lead singer and primary songwriter for his outfit. While Johnson hasn’t penned pop anthems for Panic! at the Disco or B.o.B. like Cuomo, I’d argue that his songwriting deserves similar praise for its impact in song lengths that rarely crest 3-minutes.
Johnson himself understands the songwriting impact of Cuomo as evidenced by an appearance on the Bandsplain podcast. In the episode Johnson and host Yasi Salek take part in an epic exploration of Weezer’s catalog. The episode is almost 5-hours in length and includes a damn near complete history of Weezer and their music. Salek offers her own theory of Joyce Manor’s through-line connection to Weezer’s music in the episode.
Joyce Manor has yet to release a full-length record over 25 minutes, but within their 98-minute discography there are unforgettable hooks. you’ll be screaming along in your car or in the crowd when you inevitably see them live. Anecdotally, the times I’ve seen Joyce Manor the audience happily takes over vocal duties for Johnson, shouting back every word from across the band’s expanding catalog. If you ask a fan of Joyce Manor their favorite record you’ll probably receive a few different answers. For me it’s Never Hungover Again, but its like choosing kids. There is a soft spot for Cody in my heart and there are definitely days of the year where ‘Wildflowers’ from A Million Dollars To Kill Me seems like the band’s greatest achievement. As a heart-tattoo-haver it’s easy to feel left out when the Joyce Manor plays a song you don’t have fully memorized or may come from a split that was released when you were still going to exclusively metalcore shows. The beauty of Joyce Manor though is that everybody has a different connection to Johnson’s songs.
Maybe my Rivers Cuomo comparison is coming off my own fresh interest in Weezer. I was trying to “get” Weezer, which essentially entails exploring the bands two classic records The Blue Album and Pinkerton. The subsequent wormhole includes a back and forth between Weezer fans if any of their subsequent songs ever got better than those two records. Surprisingly, “Weezer ” the SNL sketch starring Matt Damon and Leslie Jones sums up “The Weezer Conversation” quite well.
My answer is maybe, as to whether Weezer ever got better in their subsequent albums. If asked the same thing about Joyce Manor though, I’d say that ‘Gotta Let It Go’ is evidence that “The Joyce Manor Conversation” is still an ongoing discussion.
’40 oz. To Fresno’ is out 6/10 via Epitaph.