Reminiscent of the slow tempo ballads from The Arctic Monkeys and the signature breathiness found in Cigarettes After Sex is Johnny Aries’ newest track “King of Sad”.
We hear the bending electric guitar and bass drum before Aries’ vocals kick in. He asks, “If you could die / Who would you die for?” This is the first of many questions Aries asks the listener. Accentuated by the simple bassline and electric guitar, additional “Oohs” and “Ahhs” allow Aries’ voice to stand out.
The hook asks, “Do you feel this crushing weight too?” Aries spends the rest of the song trying to find the answer to this question, the song ending on a cliffhanger where there is no resolution. Keys and new synth, an acoustic rhythm guitar, and an additional electric guitar add to the 80s feel, completing the ode with a fade-out. The slow tempo, lyrically unresolved song solidifies that Aries is stuck in the in-between, stuck in his head, and feeling sad until further notice.
The song, while nearing four minutes long, is only three verses. This shows that instrumentally, the haunting sonics still carry the message. “King of Sad” is “the first cut from a brand new collection of songs” Aries plans on releasing with Superbloom Records. Superbloom Records, along with Johnny Aries, includes a notable roster of url, Casey Conroy, and Morning Silk. When Aries is not producing solo work, he is shredding in the NYC-based indie pop band The Drums.