Photo: Nick Woltersdorf
Eagle-eyed Ones To Watch readers may remember our coverage of Johan Lenox's "Phases" almost a year ago, a time when this doe-eyed writer was happily anticipating the release of Lenox's debut album. With 2021's many challenges - wildfires, insurrection, pandemic, you name it - we must also consider the many delays that Lenox's debut album What Do You Want to Be When You Grow Up faced as well. Today, we can put down our sadness and embrace the mirth of the new year, as Lenox releases a new single and video for "No One Gets Me," the latest single from his debut album set to release this March.
Sporting a guest appearance from RMR, "No One Gets Me" is a beautiful and cathartic slowburn perfect for capturing the bittersweet melancholy of a new year. If this is your first exposure to Lenox, then consider this the perfect introduction to the LA-based singer and composer. The track has a distinctly alt-pop vibe with heavy bass signals, distorted electronic vocals, and Lenox's signature lush strings.
While there is an undeniable undercurrent of anxiety and malaise that permeates "No One Gets Me," RMR's verse breaks through the clouds like a beam of heavenly sunshine to assure both Lenox and the listener that everything is okay as long as we are surrounded by those we love. While Johan's anxiety is real, it is ultimately fueled not from within but by a sense of alienation. His aversion to conforming and trading stability for his freedom is the force that reminds us that every choice has its trade-offs. This message is amplified by the Brian Niles-directed visual, showcasing a series of scenes in which an alienated Lenox is inevitably reassured by his significant other (and RMR of course).
"This song and video continue the themes of my album, taking a look at the various trappings of traditional American adulthood and questioning if these are things I want to participate in at all," Lenox notes. "…There’s a conflict between the lyrics sometimes blaming the collapse of the American Dream for my Peter Pan-ish refusal to grow up, and in the next breath letting one of my featured vocalists or a voice memo from my girlfriend criticize or dismiss that exact same apathy."
While melancholic, "No One Gets Me" is an important reminder to carve your own path outside of the expectations others set for you; an important lesson to remember as we venture further into the new year. Like the singles that preceded it, Lenox and RMR work in symmetry to explore many of the themes of What Do You Want to Be When You Grow Up. With his project set to feature 070 Shake, Ant Clemons, Lancey Foux, Cousin Stizz, and more, Lenox is an artist you have to keep your eyes on this year.
Watch the "No On Gets Me" video below: