Album Notes - AJJ - Good Luck, Everybody

Album Notes - AJJ - Good Luck, Everybody

January 17, 2020

Can you turn someone on to a band, only to have them in turn turn you on to the same band? That's a lot of turning. Try not to get dizzy. It's also exactly what happened between me and Ryan "Chicago Bar and Grill" Nelson. When it came to AJJ, this reciprocal musical exposure was years in the making.

As I did every few months, in 2016 I handed Hamdog Nelson a few dozen tunes I thought could be added to his restaurant's playlist. As he did, he agreed with some, disagreed with others. As always, he kept every tune on his computer. Two years later, out of the blue I got a text. "Do you have any more AJJ? This is great!" The music-loving restaurateur couldn't have cared less about adding songs to the playlist. I’m still not sure whether you'll hear any of the band formerly known as Andrew Jackson Jihad while stuffing your face on a Sunday. This was, for him, purely pleasure. And right up his punk-adoring alley. When I saw him a week later he had downloaded their entire catalog and then proceeded to subject me to his five-star favorites. For a band that I enjoyed an album of in passing, then forgot about, Mr. "That's a Nice Bucket" Nelson made me listen. And I’m glad I did. 

The Arizona-based group describes themselves as "folk punk," which is as accurate a description as I could imagine. Not only is it folk punk, it's one of the most quotable albums of this young year. They may have taken the political references out of their name, but certainly not out of their songs, lyrics incisive and biting as ever. Listen for yourself to gauge whether it’s your flavor or not. Politics aside, lyrical gems are sprinkled throughout. A personal favorite opens “Loudmouth,” acknowledging something each of us experiences:

You're a loudmouth and a tool
And I don't disagree with you
But you don't need to be a dick about it

Truly words worth keeping in mind. As we make our way through 2020, so is the album’s title: Good Luck, Everybody