not a member? click here to sign up

Is And Always Was

Revered outsider artist makes move on the mainstream

Rating: 7 / 10

Francis Jones, 17 Nov 2009



On the opening ‘Mind Movies’, Daniel Johnston describes himself as ‘just a psycho trying to write a song’. Johnston, whose struggles with bipolar disorder were chronicled in the 2006 documentary The Devil And Daniel Johnston, has never been afraid to address his problems through his music. He’s a brave and honest songwriter. Also included here is the touchingly humorous ‘I Had Lost My Mind’, a Pavement-esque ode to mislaying his faculties. “I’m always losing that dang thing”, he admits.

Out of whack he may occasionally be, but melody is one thing that Johnston has firmly marshalled. The Beatles have been a mainstay of his life from an early age, and it shows. Like those great pop classicists, Johnston’s breezy choruses are simply the sugar that helps the medicine go down. Innocent, yet constantly enquiring, his songs raise all the important questions. ‘Without You’ tackles unrequited love, ‘Queenie The Doggie’ is a sweet lament for his canine chum, and ‘Tears’ makes its point with devastating simplicity – “I could cry like nothing was right”, he utters sadly.

Johnston, who was initially famed for his DIY approach, here fully utilises the band and facilities afforded him. He’s assisted in his endeavours by fellow Beatles aficionado Jason Falkner. Together they ensure that these songs twinkle and shine in all the right places. Indeed, on this showing, the leap from cherished cult to widespread recognition looks eminently achievable.


Rating: 7 / 10
Artist Related Content

Latest Related Articles For This Artist

Daniel Johnston for Belfast

Cult singer jets in this April...


News: 28 Feb 2012

Daniel Johnston for Vicar St.

There's also an in-depth Hot Press interview to look forward to!


News: 18 Dec 2009

Daniel Johnston - Dublin gig plus exhibition

April 3, 2010 will see Daniel Johnston and the BEAM Orchestra play Vicar Street where there will also be a simultaneous exhibition of his drawings.


News: 18 Dec 2009

Daniel Johnston And Friends

It really is astonishing what a low budget independent film can do for the profile of a moderately talented musician who’s prone to recurrent bouts of delusional behavior.


REVIEW: 25 Aug 2008

Daniel Johnston announces Dublin show

An Evening With Daniel Johnston and Friends set for Whelan's in July


News: 30 Apr 2008

best of ireland

Contact Us

Hot Press,
13 Trinity Street,
Dublin 2.
Rep. Of Ireland
Tel: +353 (1) 241 1500

Email:info@hotpress.ie

Click here for more contact information.

Click here to find out more about Hot Press

Hot Press always welcomes feed back so if you've got something to tell us click here.

Advertise With Us

For more detail on how to advertise with Hot Press click here or call us on +353 (1) 241 1540