GLS First Listen: Johnny Hendrix Delivers Another Pop Banger with "Back in the City"
Earlier this year, I had the distinct privilege of reviewing former Cascadent frontman Johnny Hendrix’s first single as a solo artist (and you can find that review here). The song - a sleek, laid-back R&B-infused number called “Ride” - represented, in many ways, one of the most unexpected and interesting musical about-faces in the Atlanta scene in recent memory. Many who, like me, had first become acquainted with Hendrix and his spectacularly clear, soulful tenor voice in the context of his role as the lead vocalist of a quickly-rising math/prog band were quite likely surprised by the singer/songwriter’s new musical direction, and even more so by the announcement of his departure from Cascadent to pursue it. However, there are times when things just seem to have a way of working out for the best, and having heard the rest of Johnny’s new EP GENESIS, which officially hits the web tomorrow, I can attest to the fact that his decision to transition from denim-clad rocker to urban pop hot shot probably represents one such instance.
With that in mind, it is with great pleasure and pride that Georgia Local Spotlight is proud to present the exclusive first listen for GENESIS’ opening track - “Back in the City”.
This drum-machine driven, synth-soaked tune showcases everything about Hendrix’s voice that fans - new and old - have come to adore: his smooth delivery, his effortless falsetto, and his knack for stacking track after track of flawless harmony parts until a veritable choir emerges to compliment and emphasize his lead lines. In addition to all of this, listeners are introduced to an entirely new element of Johnny’s sound as a performer: rap. Hendrix spits almost as much as he sings on “Back in the City”. And he’s surprisingly good at it. Make no mistake, Johnny shines the most when he’s channeling Marvin Gaye and John Legend, but i’d be lying if I said I didn’t thoroughly enjoy hearing him rip into the song’s more verbose passages with (at least slightly tongue-in-cheek) bombast and braggadocio.
Like its predecessor, “Ride”, “Back in the City” is marked by highly polished, somewhat retro production courtesy of Corey Childs, and features a well balanced, crystalline mix that really adds a little extra sparkle to Hendrix’s fabulous performance.
You can stream the track below, and you can pre-save GENESIS via Distrokid at this link. Make sure you keep up to date with all of Johnny’s goings-on by following him on Facebook, and be sure to grab your own copy of Genesis when it drops tomorrow (12/31)!
Photo credit: Shaun Ramkumar.