Discover & Download - Hobo Johnson

August 19, 2019

The last album was called The Rise of Hobo Johnson, and it really lived up to its name. Self-produced, self-recorded, and originally self-released in late 2017, it powered a breakout year that most musicians can only dream of, beginning with the backyard performance of “Peach Scone” that brought Hobo Johnson (née Frank Lopes Jr.) YouTube viewers by the millions, and ending with a huge, intensely devoted fan base early, anticipating his next move.

That next move is called The Fall of Hobo Johnson, which is (Frank hopes) more of a metaphorical title. It’s about all of the things that Frank (the person) has gone through while Hobo Johnson (the persona) has been blowing up. Namely, a lot of falling: falling in love, falling out of it, and falling apart when it was over.

In many ways it’s still the Hobo we’ve come to know and love. He’s still neurotic, still energetic, still thinking about big ideas in universally relatable everyday metaphors. (“You and the Cockroach” finds him ruminating on the fate of humankind from the perspective of the insects poised to replace us.) He’s still blurring the line between singer and rapper and poet. A lot of what you hear on the album came straight from Frank’s laptop, the same as everything he’s released so far.

But it’s Hobo on a whole new level. At age 24, he’s still a growing artist, and the exponential escalation in talent between his 2015 debut project Hobo Johnson’s 94 Corolla (which he infamously recorded while living in the titular vehicle) and The Rise of Hobo Johnson has kept on escalating through The Fall. Success has given Frank a new level of focus, and it shows. The compositions have been getting more complex. Lyrically he’s evolved from the hyper-personal point of view of his earlier work to talking about more universal stuff like politics, history, and the future, which only makes sense because this time around the whole world really is paying attention.

All of the growth and emotion and craziness of the past few years comes together in “Typical Story,” the lead single from The Fall. It’s got everything that made “Peach Scone” a phenomenon–the ramshackle charisma, the smart but surreal lyrics, the cathartic yawp of his delivery–concentrated and sharpened to a point, delivered with a huge singalong hook unlike anything else in the Hobo Johnson catalog. Frank might be right when he says it’s the best thing he’s ever written.