Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Patrick Stolley at Futureappletree Too
Most days, I'm finding in my old age, just take us to the end of the line and boot us in the ass. Most of the time, those days need barely to touch us and we just fall down, already snoring as we hit the pillow or the couch, finally the couch. We just spend ourselves obsessively, feeling that the work and the effort put into the work are our distinguishing characteristics. They are the parts of us that will eventually get noticed and it will be what we're respected for. These thoughts prove to be our nourishment, insofar as it can take us. Mind you, we still wind up on the couch, slumped bodies, a beer cracked off to the side, with a remote control in one hand and little energy to do anything other than that. These are most days, but then there are the ones we really live for. We know that they're coming, but we're just not sure when.
We get lulled into our everyday lives, after a certain number of years, but every so often we are reminded of the kinds of emotions and spectacles that Abner Ramirez and Amanda Sudano of JOHNNYSWIM sing about. The husband and wife duo, who spend most of their time in Los Angeles these days, write songs about feelings and brief periods of passionate time that we can't help but envy. We can live vicariously through them, believing that we're younger than we look, luckier than we feel. They sing about love and vigor the way that it came to us originally - like lightning bolts and flashes of brilliant light. We let it all get to us. We let it soak into our skin and muscles and bones and just take over. We were fools for it. We wanted nothing more.
Sooner or later, most everyone gets into the tougher parts of love and living and some of those pure feelings wane some, but damn if it hadn't been great to begin with, even when it was obviously ill-fated and suspect. Ramirez and Sudano are two gorgeous people (just look at any photograph of them) and the intense sensations that they put into these folk-pop songs are glorious. They reach skyward and wind up making up the distance in a hurry. They sing about the feelings that can get into you, as if they could just be found in a cereal box. They can be had and then you can have them too. They sing about getting married "in a fever" and even if you haven't had such a thing happen to you, they make you believe in it. It must have been how they did it for it might have been the only way they knew how.
*Essay originally published July, 2013