Goodbye Cruel World: Little Johnny's Diary PT. 1
"If you can't fit in," Jon Henry says, "stand out." If the music industry were a high school, Jon Henry would be the strangely-dressed new kid who comes in halfway through the year. He's a fresh face and no one knows what to expect from him. He's a mystery, but the secret behind the buzz he's creating in Hollywood isn't. It's easy to picture the current music scene as sharply-segmented high school cliques in their cafeteria. Blinged-out rappers and party girl pop-singers are the rich kids and cheerleaders who sit at the lunch table where many kids would like a spot. Some very fashionable punk-rockers sit at a table they insist is not Emo, often nervous about the Urban demographic at the table in the corner. Many wonder where this new kid will land in the hierarchy of popularity. But Jon Henry sits alone with a confident smirk like the whole scene bores him; why? It's because he knows, as he raps on his darkly comical ode to the un-cool kids "Happy Loser", that "Cool is a job with pointless rules they're trying to follow hard." While the nervous middle classes of the music scene are desperately chasing co-signs from the cooler kids and trying to project a popular image, Jon Henry boldly speaks to kids at every lunch table about something deeper than who has the latest smartphone. He relates to their personal issues, like their efforts to fit in or find hope when in pain. This honesty helps him to define and build a unique pop audience that unites kids across lunch tables. Towards that goal, Jon Henry and collaborator The Prime Mover turn beautiful angst into a mainstream debut for all of Young America to enjoy. 'Goodbye Cruel World' is a 2-part concept album whose first installment became available the last quarter of 2008. It follows the story of a young American teen whose life spirals out of control. Prime Mover's music alternately sounds like infectious techno-rap from outer space, then dark and chaotic rock from some post-apocalyptic future. Kurt Cobain is as much their influence as 2pac, as well as electronic music like Crystal Method, Pink Floyd lyrics, Prince, and ideas like youthful rage, blind conformity, and Middle America. Jon sings and raps, blending his rap lyrical skill, rock content, and R&B melodies into something without boundaries. "I'm a human mash-up. I'm not a rapper. I'm a rock star who happens to rap. I'm like Eminem in skinny pants," he laughs. Where many rappers posture with confident, tough-guy imagery, he makes a statement out of vulnerability. His songs feel like some high school misfit's notebook come to life as an electronic musical. Jon Henry says that he is different not because it's an angle, but because he can't help but to be. It's this kind of outside-the-box approach that encouraged his journey from his Milwaukee, Wisconsin suburbia, where thousands of kids found his first two full-length releases, all the way to Hollywood, where usually-apprehensive rock venues are agreeing to give him a chance to win over new audiences. Confident performances combine with a do-it-yourself attitude that includes social networking sites and grassroots street team promotion. All this helps him sell well-crafted pop songs and build strong relationships. But his originality is what will ultimately have everyone voting Jon Henry most likely to succeed.