When I asked Jonnie Common if he'd experienced somewhat restlessness this year he responded as if I was from another planet. "Hasn't everybody"? In what has truly been a restless year for the many, not just the few, Common's music remains a light at the end of the tunnel. Here's 6 things Common gets spot on in Restless followed by an interview. The 2016/2017 bugbear annual, this one's for the dreamers...!
Technology is fucking boring! There's nothing worse than being tied to your phone all day, every day. Wake up; Facebook check, Sky Sports News check, frustrating views on Twitter we still read; check. Common points out iOS maps, and yeah it's true I'd love to get lost again, I just don't have the time to! Then there's having to text friends back, and feeling bad for only replying in your head! Throw in a couple more bugbears like the fucking tragedy that fidget spinners are, and no longer is Common alone in his year of restlessness.
Self-loathing is a key ingredient when it comes to working for the man. Especially on the weekend. Nobody wants to pull a shift then, especially for no thanks and shit pay. But we still do it. Or at least have to do it, apparently. That's what makes Common's shout out to the self-employed so spot on, they're doing something about it all! Carpe Diem etc. etc. It reminds me that it's all about winning the small battles, not necessarily the war. As he says, there's got to be a better way to win in the self-esteem stakes!
Novelty gift items (and other things of apparent magazine popularity). Like paper pineapples on straws. This video highlights that wonderfully. The kind of gift items you get from Urban Outfitters, from fish-eye-lens cameras, vintage suitcase vinyl players, to skull shaped plastic ice cubes and scratch maps. Throw in a pair of circular tortoise shell glasses for the 20/20ers and pfffft! If it gives him the shivers, it bloody terrifies me!!
Student loans, annual statements, electricy bills. The three most terrifyingly mundane concepts for anybody in their mid to late 20's. Then there's no drinks outside after 10pm, and a sudden desperation for cafetieres. No to worry though, music shall always prevail throughout the restlessness such themes manifest!
We should probably talk specifically about the music, right? The minimal instrumentation is clearly the portrayal of restlessness. But there's a lot going on man, I can see the mind trying to connect things. Like the cracking drop beat towards the end where the rhythm flows full. And the trumpet solo, so noble and sweet. The spoken word/rap style. Then finally the Doo Wop singing section; a fully rounded musical performance.
For me this track is all about daydreaming of bigger and better places. Common chooses to take himself to 21st and Broadway, New York City. It's a good place to start. Again as Common states in the song, it's all about wanting the world to change, but not necessarily having to do it yourself. As far as social commentaries go about the times and places we live, Restless is Common's song writing masterpiece to date. Music in its most current form. Make sure you see his upcoming Autumn tour, and the interview below...
Straight to the new track Restless. What's the story behind it, have you had a restless year?
Hasn't everybody? I feel as time poor and anxiety rich as ever. Hyperbole in my marrow from too much social medi-urgh. It's been a very busy year and, because I am some kind of idiotic yo yo, I always want to be working on the project that doesn't happen to be requiring my attention at that moment. Champagne problems.
We think your style has changed a little since we last conversed, the spoken word/rap element really stands out on the new track, right? // Well, I reckon what's happened there is that my last couple of releases have been a tiny bit atypical and my half-rapped / half-spoken / half-sung (wait, how many halves is that?) might predate your introduction to me. I've been trimming that hedge for a while now but, yes, thank you kindly, it does rather pop against the minimal instrumentation of the single doesn't it?
"I like the "shout out to the self-employed" line 'cos I feel like it's an extra little connection to the crowd"
How did you and Mario Cruzado come up with the video? The outfits you are wearing make me feel restless! // Mario had some ideas involving multiple "Me's" and we decided it'd be much better to use real life people instead of copying and pasting me a few times. Which worked out great as everyone was amazing and full of inspired contributions. Props to Jo who featured in the vid and her refined theatre-producing chops for help with the outfits! I may or may not pop mine back on for the tour...
What's the line you most look forward to delivering when you play Restless live? Mine would be "if it would clear my name I'd take a bullet for the last known Rhino, just to be a hero".
I like the "shout out to the self-employed" line 'cos I feel like it's an extra little connection to the crowd. And to think I almost didn't put it on the record. I fancied it as something I would just keep for live shows but the night before going into the studio I came to my senses.
Finally, you're a Third Outing favourite from last Christmas' Yippee-Ki-Yay release alone, have you got another festive treat in store for us this year? // I'm afraid not, no. But I do hope to complete my Planet Hollywood trilogy at some point. And I look forward to 'Yippee...' getting another chance to do the rounds in a couple months.