Hobo Johnson’s newest album The Fall of Hobo Johnson is an ode to being completely average. Johnson’s jams are all about being insecure, being an ugly kid, feeling angsty and still figuring everything out.
Johnson’s aesthetic is unique, offering a contrast to other rappers that usually dominate the charts. Johnson sounds like a real-life teen as he isn’t rapping about guns, drugs, strippers, insane nightclubs or millions in cash. Lyrically, he is rapping about back-acne, about his favourite foods, about heartbreak and wanting a pet dog. Johnson’s brand and music focuses on his simplicity and normalcy making him truly one of a kind in the rap game.
Johnson’s style is far from the mumble rap that grew in popularity after SoundCloud rappers started to break into the mainstream rap scene. His content is relatable to everyday youth: he raps about being broke, conflicts between teens and their parents and of course his Subaru Crosstrek. Hobo’s sound is upbeat and diverse, from screamo to lullaby to rap. His lyrics are not the only thing that makes this album so down-to-earth, the musical composition of this album is filled with familiar sounds akin to Macklemore or Twenty One Pilots.
“Subaru Crosstrek XV” made waves for Johnson before the album came out. It features Johnson’s style, a laid back beat and rapping about his painfully normal life. The song is about his car, being broke and his distaste for his real name, Frank. “Subaru Crosstrek XV” is the perfect song to sum up this album: funny, relatable lyrics paired with a catchy beat.
Hobo’s music is targeted to his peers and standout tracks on this album showcase just that. He is singing for his audience, not to them. For instance, take “Ode to Justin Bieber” featuring Jack Shoot and JMSEY — the song is a hilarious comparison between Hobo’s childhood and Bieber’s. In the lyrics, he draws parallels between Generation Z’s lives, using examples like eating Frosted Flakes after school, to Bieber, who was all over MTV at the same age.
Similarly, “Sorry, My Dear” speaks to all those who went through an emo phase in their teens — it is angsty, angry and cynical. The strong bass and intoxicating beat makes it easy to get lost in this song. This melody showcases the diversity on The Fall of Hobo Johnson, from emo anthems to rap bangers Johnson can do no wrong.
“You & the Cockroach” is another standout song from the album. It is a narrative about how the world was created and, later, it’s downfall, which Hobo credits to religion and the government. Johnson is plainly speaking in the song which would sound out of place on just about any other album, but because of his loveable personality and sense of humour it fits perfectly.
The Fall of Hobo Johnson is an ode to everyone who grew up in the 2000s. The angsty screaming mixed with the carefree vibes makes this album undeniably unique and a great listen.