Picture a middle aged European guy with a thick foreign accent attempting say “Sex In The Movies” and it would sound something like the title of this review. Let’s get right to it shall we?(the review not the sex!)
Veteran pop singer/songwriter and Twitter verified social media megalomaniac Jonathan Sakas came out with a new EP a while back that didn’t get the attention that it deserved. Jonathan is known for writing dance songs about his favorite(or least favorite) subjects, sex and sadness. If you think those two things don’t go together at all, then you probably haven’t had much sex in your life.
The 2nd track on the EP is “I’ll Never Ever Let You Go,” is weirdly reminiscent of the Taylor Swift hit “We are Never Ever Getting Back Together.” It’s as if it were the obsessed crazy guy from that song telling his side of the story. Being the misogynist that I am, i’m inclined to take Jonathan’s side on this. Bros before hoes and all, but man it’s Taylor Swift(one of the only classy people left in pop music ever since Miley Cyrus started sticking her tongue out like Gene Simmons from KISS and nudging down the path of Britney Spears’ shaved head era.) As a bonus, “I’ll Never Ever Let You Go,” actually even includes some LFO style rapping(Rich Cronin RIP.)
summer love that you’d only find in movies we were cool like the pool but we were hot like a jacuzzi
My other favorite tune on this EP has got to be the opening song, “Movies.” It has a lovely melody and memorable lyrics and is simply a pop gem of of a jam. You can just feel it when it starts to kick in during the chorus, which appears to include a reference to none other than Leo on the Titanic:
It’s like we think we’re in the movies… We always know just what to say. So even though the ship is sinking… we hang on another day
Basically this music is a lot like the crap they play on the radio, except better and made by a more intelligent person with actual creativity and talent(but minus dancing ability.) So if you enjoy listening to the radio more than I do(not including AM oldies stations or ironically entertaining political talk radio,) you will love Jonathan Sakas’ album, 1984.
So I was fortunate enough to get my hands on an advance copy of Jonathan Sakas‘ (pronounced like “say kuss”) debut album, Albatross. He had previously released an EP Death of the Iceman. Jonathan has been around in the Phoenix music scene for years, and I recall seeing one of his bands play at Plaid in late 2006 era. He has only recently began to break out and make a name for himself.
Being somewhat of a minimalist, I knew immediately that I would like Jonathan Sakas’ Albatross when I saw that he used “one word” song titles for each track (Grapes, Oysters, Striker, etc) The songs themselves are not minimalist but rather extremely well polished, proficiently performed, professionally produced quasi-masterpieces.
A variety of synthesizers and other electronic instruments are made use of, with some guitar sounds thrown in here and there. My favorite track on the album is the first song “Striker,” which is peppy and catchy, as in will be sure to catch your attention. The other potential hits are “Porridge,” the third song and also “Marie” which has an excellent keyboard intro that seems to scream “instant pop phenomenon.” Apparently, I’m not the only one who thinks so, as “Marie” was selected to be on the new Zia Records Compilation CD slated to come out in the near future. That’s quite a testament to the quality of the jam, given that there are a zillion established Phoenix bands and Albatross hasn’t even been released yet.
There tends to be a stigma in Phoenix against acts that appear to take their music seriously. People look at you as if to say “Who does this guy think he is? Why doesn’t he have his shirt off and a can of Pabst Blue Ribbon in his hand like the rest of us?” It’s part of the ‘white trash chic’ mentality that plagues much of the Southwest. The reality is that Phoenix as a whole probably doesn’t take itself seriously enough. Jonathan Sakas represents just the kind of 21st century artistry this town desperately needs.
If Jonathan keeps at it and doesn’t get distracted by ordinary life prospects or seduced by constraining relationships, I foresee a future of national tours, sold out amphitheaters, New Times music awards, indie label deals and all around success. When Jonathan Sakas starts to hit the big time, remember you heard it here first.