London-based Rebel ACA & French Monkey Wrench released a new single at the beginning of February. The song is from the duo’s forthcoming album, called Summer’s Cool. The new single is called “John Wayne,” a track the duo describes as “what it is to be a modern man in the modern world.”
“The name John Wayne – a name most young people may not even know – is harking back to a simpler time and what a man was then. When men were tough not due to their gym muscles, but tough because of their mental strength and independence. About the guy in the street looking tough and cool, is on his own, but utterly dependent on his phone. What would John Wayne think?”
Innovative Hip-Hop Melody
Rebel ACA and French Monkey Wrench met 15 years ago when both were involved with a funk reggae band, as producer and manager. The ACA in Rebel’s name refers to his anti-clockwise attitude, and French likes to fix things with his monkey wrench. Their sound reflects elements of leftfield house music, hip-hop, rock, and folk.
“John Wayne” rides an electronic hip-hop melody and catchy groove. The tune opens with glowing synths, giving the impression of a 1950s musical soundtrack. The synths flow into a funky hip-hop beat backed by tiptoeing synth colors. Rebel raps the lyrics out with excellent cadence and delicious rhymes, as dreamy background vocals float underneath. A campy horror flick solo with howling tones interrupts the hip-hop melody, adding an extravagantly flamboyant touch.
The lyrics of “John Wayne” lampoon the high-tech social machinery presently pervading the status quo in our culture. It is a culture that, from some perspectives, is dry and lifeless because of technology and convenience, unlike the heady days of John Wayne, who didn’t have a smart phone with apps.
“Platforms transform peer to peer transactions / Still in your track suit / Listen to Michael Jackson / Carbon footprints / Elliptical fractions / Lights, camera action / Instant gratification / And the best coffee / And the best shopping / In the best locations / Made by touch.” And then the chorus: “How many water holes does it take to quench your thirst at all / Are you sure there’s nothing wrong / When you’re standing all alone with your phone / John Wayne.”
“John Wayne” is cool, stylish, and fun to listen to. The funky hip-hop melody is innovative enough to attract and maintain attention, while the lyrics imbue the tune with sardonic wit that’s both objective and subjective. After listening to “John Wayne” and the duo’s previous single, “African James Bond,” the forthcoming album should be worth the wait because Rebel ACA and French Monkey Wrench obviously have a knack for polished, contagious music.