Sinful synth-fuelled pop
With a packed schedule of roles and projects, it’s a wonder that electronic musician, promoter and radio host Johnny Normal can find the time to add something new to the mix.
2017 saw the debut of his latest musical venture, titled The Rude Awakening. ‘Let Nothing Take Your Pride’ emerged as an anthem for all those who have come under fire in life (and which also became one of TEC’s Songs Of The Year). Its defiant tones seems to be a timely response for a man who had battled some major hurdles in recent years (Johnny had spent much of 2014 hospitalised in a coma), but also reflected on the need for anyone to fight their corner.
The Rude Awakening also appeared to be shaping up as a venture not too dissimilar to ELYXR’s approach to musical collaborations. As with Kasson Crooker’s series of releases, Johnny Normal seems keen to bring onboard other talents from the electronic music scene to give each outing by The Rude Awakening a unique profile.
For ‘Let Nothing Take Your Pride’, that meant Brooke Calder’s vocal skills was brought onboard. But for The Rude Awakening’s latest release, the talents of Bridget Gray (Destination) were employed.
‘Your Wetness is My Weakness’ is threaded with strong sexual themes – a 21st Century love song that explores the boundaries of relationships through role-play and fantasy. On that basis then, it’s perhaps not surprising that elements of the new tune seem to reflect some of the sleazy synth territory that Soft Cell managed to dominate in years past.
Certainly the lyrical content doesn’t seem to shy away from fairly blunt expressions of sexual abandon with Mr Normal painting a very explicit image (“Approaching me with confidence she kneels before my feet/And sucks me with an energy that makes me feel complete”). Meanwhile, there’s a sensual backing vocal element from Bridget Gray weaving in and out of a sultry electronic miasma.
The result is a sinful hymn on the pleasures of the flesh hammered out on leather-clad electronics. There’s also a suitably slick production care of both Johnny Normal and Mr Strange.
Along for the ride are some sterling remixes which take the song into new territories. This includes a typically brash Parralox reworking where the whole affair is given an engaging workout that suggests a combo of Giorgio Moroder and Pet Shop Boys.
Your Wetness is My Weakness is out now on Pink Dolphin Music. Available from iTunes, Amazon and most digital outlets.
The Rude Awakening will be performing live at the forthcoming Synthetic City Reloaded event at The Water Rats, Kings Cross London on 22nd September. Also at Massive Ego & Friends on 15th December at Water Rats (full details on the TEC Calendar page).
Publications that have featured his contributions include Electronic Sound, Metro, Japan Update Weekly, J-Pop Go, Wavegirl and OMD Messages.