Songwriter/producer/composer John Dragonetti (The Submarines) will release his first new album under his Jack Drag moniker, appropriately entitled 2018, September 14 on Burger Records. A second single from the record, “Hope Revisited”, has just been released.
“Hope Revisited” draws inspiration from a line in Emily Brontë’s poem “Remembrance”. Dragonetti makes the poem's wistful sentiment his own, singing, “Sweet love of youth has passed us / Tears of useless passion and grace / Oh and our love was antiquated / And desperation is underrated.”
2018 very much captures where Dragonetti is here and now. After three acclaimed LPs with his now ex-wife Blake Hazard as The Submarines, Dragonetti focused on studio work, composing music for film & television, including his recent score of the 2018 comedy All About Nina, starring Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Common, along with producing albums for a number of notable musicians, including Dylan Gardner, who with Aimee Mann, co-wrote first single, “Little Lies”.
The decision to release a 1994 four-track recordings on cassette via Burger last month, led Dragonetti to wanting to finish a number of pop songs he had been working on, bringing together a group of friends to collaborate including Belle & Sebastian singer and violinist Sarah Martin, who joins on the tracks "Strangers" and "I Suppose", and Mike Sawitzke of The Eels + Dispatch, who assisted with horn arrangements and mixing, throughout.
Featuring ten songs and produced by Dragonetti, 2018 sounds about as classic Jack Drag as any of its sweetly lo-fi predecessors. Each song is peppered with upbeat piano, horn, and string-laced melodies, though, despite their surface cheer and crisp “ba-ba-ba”s, tend to waver between anxiety and melancholic optimism—and then back to uncertainty.
Given everything that has changed in Dragonetti’s life since he last released a pop album, it’s understandable if Dragonetti would want to start fresh. But by returning to his former self, Dragonetti has a chance to find closure with 2018, which explores past relationships and celebrates new ones.
"This is where I am right now and it’s something I needed to do on my own. Which is sort of where I started in the first place. I think, ultimately, this is a hopeful record about moving forward. We go through these milestone relationships, new loves and experiences, growing older. It’s a lot, but we get through it. It’s not so much a break-up record as it is a post-break up record."