Johnny Hates Jazz— Magnetized

It’s not an easy thing to make a comeback 25 years after you first began to make a name for yourself. It’s especially not easy when the music landscape has changed almost entirely between 1988 when Turn Back the Clock produced a handful of mega-hits and now. Furthermore, it’s doubly difficult when the two main members of a group did not talk to each other for 22 years… 22 years!! Yikes.

And it takes guts to say ‘this album is the sequel to ‘Turn Back the Clock’, and yes, it sounds like that— although while taking full advantage of digital technology that is now available. Yes Clark Datchler still sings just like Clark Datchler did when he sang ‘Shattered Dreams’ and yes Mike Nocito still looks like the tall guy who starred on Seinfeld, though with a better haircut. Not sure you could say Clark has a better haircut these days. And the songs are still the sort of hook catchy, singable, get inside your head and you keep humming them pop songs they did in the first place in the late 80s. They are soooo…. 80s. And there is nothing wrong with that. They are just doing what they do so well, with a little 25 year hiatus between albums one and two. No problem…. those of us who thoroughly enjoyed the first wave of Johnny, will really enjoy the comeback as well.

So some highlights from the new album. Obviously the title song Magnetized is the one that is getting the air play now and is indeed probably the best song on the album. But not the only great song on the album. There are some terrific driving songs as well as some nice ballads. For example try Lighthouse or You belong to You (or as I would call the latter— love is possible for narcissists). Of the ballads Man with No Name and Release You or Goodbye Sweet Yesterday are probably the strongest. But the whole album goes down about as smoothly as a good cold glass of your favorite liquid refreshment.

There is a great virtue in concentrating on doing what you do well. No one will be paying big bucks to watch Phil Mickelson sing karoke versions of his favorite Journey songs, but to see him hit miraculous golf shots— that’s a different story. Clark and Mike know what they do well, and they are now maximizing their potential, and I for one would certainly happily pay to see them. Welcome back guys….. we missed you. Could we turn back the clock to 1989 and just continue from then with our 80s bodies etc.??? Then there would have been only a one year hiatus between albums. I’m just saying.


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