JAWNY has never been an artist to play by any pre-determined rules. Proudly writing and producing his own brand of DIY slacker pop for the better part of the last two years, sometimes under the moniker of Johnny Utah, he’s steadily built up a following dedicated to echoing his transient thoughts and feeding them back to him in a perpetual cycle of creative inspiration. His latest project, however, a mixtape called For Abby, breaks away from this cycle, taking JAWNY aside to ruminate on his own romantic struggles, in an effort to win her (presumably Abby) back. One of the most telling singles on the project— “Sabotage” — sees JAWNY admit fault by his own neuroses, though its recently released visuals struggle to tell the same story.
The lyrics draw a simple storyline: man sabotages his relationship simply because he is a young, stupid kid who doesn’t know what he’s doing. The video, then, attempts to follow this storyline with scenes of JAWNY and two friends (Christian Blue and Solomonophobic) dressing up as Jehova’s Witnesses on an empty street, belting out the boisterous chorus in front of an end-of-the-world-warning- sticker laden van, before promptly changing and getting into the van for a joyride that seemingly turns psychedelic. If this were any of JAWNY’s previous singles, the storyline would make sense, the visuals would remain amusing. But there is a line in the song—”I’m a piece of shit / went too far / now I’m lonely”—that turns “Sabotage” from a fun, raucous indie pop single into an introspective confessional buried in rippling beats and funky riffs. By itself, it’s a progressive step forward for the 24-year-old artist, layering in percussive dimensions that fill out the space a little nicer than before, with a visual JAWNY that feels alive and motivated to hop back into his cycle. But below the surface, it’s untapped potential for a more authentic, vulnerable, and multifaceted JAWNY. One that I hope we will one day get to see.
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