From contemplative piano ditties that wouldn’t sound out of place on a Michael Buble album to alternative rock tracks to rock ballads and beyond, Wise John’s A Wonderful World feels influenced by everything from classic Guns N’ Roses to Queen to Thom Yorke to Frank Sinatra to Ben Folds. A broad and unique belnd of influences whirls together into a 10 tracks smoothie of psychedelic folk pop, smooth jazz, showtunes, and alternative rock that’s hard to describe in any way that would do the extremely eccentric album or the creative minds behind it any justice. The second you wrap up a track that sounds like it’s written by a 90s grunge kid who’s all grown up you jump into a lounge number you’d expect to hear being crooned on the stages of Atlantic City. While very disarmingly different from song to song, the music somehow still flows in a way that avoid being disorientating or wholly unconnected. And, if you find yourself reading this and asking how that can be, you need to experience the enigma that is Wise John for yourself.
Raised in So Cal, now living in the hipster Mecca of Brooklyn, John’s journey was as unique as the art he creates. Citing the Beatles, Radiohead, Bowie, and Spoon as influences, he’s being modest at the depth and breadth of his musical diet and inspirations. He describes the album itself as his “sometimes-fiery, sometimes-sweet response to the state of the world and my life at the time”, written mostly while living in Orange County, California in the cruel Summer of 2020. The wild juxtapositions in tone and feeling mirror the whirlwind of emotions that most of us felt during the peaks and valleys of this dubious time in our history… a time that has – sadly – not yet passed us by.
The album is not only a unique one, but a refreshing listen for people willing to lend an open ear and open mind. Lyrically, it ranges from playful to challenging. And, as noted earlier, its musical range is hard to truly capture in words. Start to finish, it’s worth your time, you may pick out a few tracks that fit your tastes… or you just may find a new favorite album to forge through the rest of this difficult pandemic era. Either way, you won’t be sorry you gave it a chance.