Combining a mellow neo-hippie sensibility with a hyperactive millenium groove, P.J. Olsson crafts positive party anthems for the post-slacker world on Words For Living. While the comparisons to Beck are inevitable since both share an interest in combining new beats with an appreciation for old rock, Olsson has no interest in sharing Beck’s sonic agenda. Olsson’s music only exists to compliment his interests in peace, love, and marijuana without any preaching or political posturing. P.J. Olsson is just in this for a good time.
Opening with the spirited “Good Dream,” Olsson accompanies listeners through his search for all that is good in the world. P.J. Olsson’s slight but emotional voice adds to the upbeat and fun nature of his songs, even when Olsson does touch on more sober subjects than daydreaming (“Dandelion”) and getting high (“Visine”). Even in the sweetly acoustic “Ready For A Fall,” Olsson’s only sorrow is that the love he’s found seems too good to be true. Bravely mixing trip-hop beats with straightforward rock guitars, Olsson’s music has a lighthearted intelligence. This brightness permeates each of the tracks on Words For Living and makes them all beautifully fascinating, from the earnest “Beautiful Woman” to the noisy “Whisper in Time.”
With an ample sense of humor and a love for vivid imagery, P.J.Olsson has filled Words For Living with perceptive lyrics. “God speaks your name through rock songs” he claims to his love on “Through Rock Songs.” Later, in the somewhat cynical “Thorazine,” he says “I’ve got the scissors to make your clothes cool. I’m not on the edge. I think it’s absurd.” Delivering all his lyrics with honesty and self-awareness, P.J. Olsson sings like he knows what’s going on.
P.J. Olsson has created a new and exciting sound with Words For Living—forward-thinking hippie rock. The amount of talent Olsson showcases here says this won’t be the last we hear from him. With a little effort, P.J. Olsson could easily become a legend.
// Notes from the Road
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