The first time I saw LA-native Johanna Samuels live, I was reminded why songwriting is so important to the craft of music. Sure, drum tracks, guitar tones, and harmonic lines carry importance, but in the singer-songwriter, folk, alternative genre, it’s the words that complete the meaning.
“Was I supposed to say it was nice to see you today?” Samuels questions on her new single of her upcoming EP, Have A Good One. Samuels perfectly captures that oscillating sensation between what you inherently feel and what you believe you should feel.
Producer Sean O’Brien, who has engineered records like The National’s Sleep Well Beastand has produced for Maxim Ludwig, Harriet and more, adds a slow, smooth funk to accompany Samuels’s emotional lyric. As the song reveals more of the situation, the production grows with instrumentation and ambient noise that reflects the setting.
What’s incredibly mesmerizing about the track is how perfectly Samuels describes the encounter of a past relationship, of everything that circles one’s mind in the process. She has this ability to make you sit back and reflect on your own experiences while learning about the intricacies of hers. In that way, her music is entirely universal.
Check out the track below from Samuels’s upcoming EP, Have A Good One. Catch Samuels live in LA every Monday in July at the Bootleg Theater.