REVIEW: Jillette Johnson “It’s A Beautiful Day And I Love You” Is Wildly Compelling


Jillette Johnson – It’s A Beautiful Day And I Love You (Moss Rose Records)

Lyrically, Nashville-based Jillette Johnson’s latest, It’s A Beautiful Day And I Love You, sounds like it could have been written by Joni Mitchell or Harry Nilsson. Not only are the songs here remarkably smart, each word carefully thought out for just the right impact, but the record comes across as if it’s a life been lived by some decades older than Johnson is. Combining those deft lyrics with Johnson’s remarkably crisp and distinctive delivery makes for a wildly compelling record.

While not exactly cynical, there are some realistic takes on lifehere that may not be as obvious as the title would suggest. And certainly, some of that wariness can be attributed to her early exposure to the caustic music business at just 19. Couple that with a record deal she couldn’t escape from and it’s surprising the record wasn’t simply brimming with piss and vinegar. But there is enough optimism and gratitude on It’s A Beautiful Day And I Love You to balance out any of the gloomier themes on songs like “Jealous” or “Angelo.” And the maudlin “I Shouldn’t Go Anywhere” is quite possibly this year’s best ‘drown your sorrows in drink’ anthem. 

On the other end of the spectrum, “Annie,” with its relentlessly charming chorus and upbeat piano back up stays with you long after you’ve stopped listening. The same can be said for the brilliant single “Graveyard Boyfriend,” with it’s opening funk guitar riff and beautifully inventive delivery on lines like “He’s giving me a heart attack/And Matter of Fact” that put Hall & Oates to shame.   

Across 10 tracks, Johnson dips in and out of genres, from folkand Americana to straight up pop. It’s A Beautiful Day And I Love You, produced by Joe Pisapia, is a natural step in Johnson’s evolution from her 2013 debut and 2017’s All I Ever See In You Is Me. This latest effort finds her in absolute prime as both a writer and a singer. And as powerful as the album is on first listen it just gets even better with each listen.

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