Photo: Nico Hernandez
If we've told you once, we've told you a million times. Jean Dawson is the future. The misfit experimental pop star has established himself as an artist whose sound is unmistakable yet impossible to readily classify or box into any overly neat category. It is a testament to the Los Angeles-based artist's desire to create with reckless abandon, thriving on the fringes of a genreless revolution in the making.
On his latest sonic departure, Dawson links up with none other than Mac DeMarco for "MENTHOL*." The unexpected yet welcomed collaboration plays out like a hazy mixture of slacker rock and blistering experimental pop, fully leveraging the idiosyncratic tendencies of both genre-pushers. Over a lone guitar riff that continues to build to a fever pitch, Dawson's drawl takes on a noticeably gritty, homespun quality as Demarco's ghostly wails float on in the background.
"MENTHOL*" was birthed out of a period of self-realization for Dawson, one that saw him letting go of the emotional toll of shit he simply couldn't be bothered to care about. “I’ve just been wanting to scream all the time - not out of anger or any emotion I can pin point but just scream at the top of my lungs at nothing - I don’t know if the song represents that at all but the song is just where I’m at with shit - I think I fully lost my ability to care about shit I don’t care about and its truly beautiful. I guess I’m really infatuated with the chaoticness that comes with the idea of tomorrow,” shares the artist.
That's not to say "MENTHOL**" is a song warped by nihilism, but rather, behind its enthralling, cutthroat execution, exists a noted message of self-care. "Jean, it’s Mac D. Just droppin’ your line today to remind you. That you should take it easy on yourself. Enjoy what you’re doing. And if you stop enjoying it at some point, hey, no problem. Don’t do it anymore. God bless ya, love ya, ciao," relays DeMarco in a candid voicemail aimed at Dawson. It's a sonic deep breath, a reminder to take stock of what is and isn't bringing you joy. One that directly juxtaposes the driving nature of much of what came before it without feeling an inch out of place.
"MENTHOL*," much like Dawson, is a story of two disparate parts. Relentless in its desire to chart out a never before ventured path yet brimming with an artistic humanity.
Listen to "MENTHOL*" below: