Johnny Football Hero - Sister Hellen


“Break up, break out the cycle again!” Emo band Johnny Football Hero cries out in their latest single, “Sister Hellen.” The song takes us straight back to those punk basement shows with torn couches and beer-stained carpets. It’s true nostalgia for the rowdy scene kids of the early 2000’s with enough influence from 2021 to keep it relevant. 

The song starts off with a choppy guitar lead going straight into a clearly defined melody. Already upbeat and energetic, the song is off to a great start even before the first lyric. When the verse does come in, the lines alternate between rhythmic chants and a simple but infectious tune that just fits the slightly chaotic punk vibe. The band pulls back on the stamina and zeal for a minute to showcase a calmer, filtered tone. 

There is restlessness in the lead singer’s voice as he perpetuates the uncertainty of transitioning to adulthood. Lyrics like, “I’m twenty-five, I’m burning out, I’m running empty on bliss and laughing at the thought of living two more quarters of this,” seem to perfectly sum up the limbo stage between the act of growing up and physically being grown up. 

The standards of success are vastly different from just about every side in a person’s life, and this song explains the struggles of trying to find a middle ground. “My dad keeps hounding me that I should go to school for a trade/while my mother views my failures as just faults in my brain.” The band somehow captured the sound of stress and turned it into a contagious track.   

Johnny Football Hero really creates a visual of what it takes to be conventionally normal for someone who simply isn’t. The band is very good at capturing scenes through music and lyrics. For example, in the first verse, “It’s time to open up my wounds with this new group therapy/it’s quite expensive, quite intensive going four days a week.” Listeners can almost place themselves in the song with such impressive story telling. Perhaps the most hard-hitting line in the first verse, however, comes right before the chorus. “Changing hurts and I hate pills so maybe this ain’t for me/smells so cozy, so damn cozy, so damn cozy!”    

The chorus comes in with a punch, hitting listeners with a release of all the tension created in the verse. “Here we go, back through the motions/feel the low, lowest devotions…this is what the damage can do,” is sang with an angst that seems to have been bottled up for a long time. It’s simple, but a pure release of all the frustration built up in the first verse. 

Self-awareness and depreciation lead into the next verse, going deeper into the overall dread of becoming self-dependent. “And every single insecurity/it gets the best of me/and fights all that I see,” paints a picture of the internal battle going on and the destruction that follows. Then, lyrics like, “And every time I see the city lights, I think of all the fights and harming out of spite,” maintain the dark theme of the track, while the quick paced percussion adds a lightheartedness that contradicts the lyrics.  

Appearing as a sound illustration of restlessness, Johnny Football Hero uses brisk beats and fast-moving vocals to display the lyrics the way they’re meant to be felt. The song intensifies in the bridge, however, slowing down the pace and cutting to just guitar and drums. The vocals slow as well, holding out lines like, “I can make my way/just take it day by day.” Behind those encouraging lines is a contradicting vocal that sounds like the voice in the back of your head quietly saying, “destruct, destroy/destruct destroy now,” and “They can hear you/they can hear you.” 

The last line before the final chorus offers a piece of encouragement through the dark times: “Just take it day by day.” The final chorus comes in to bring the track full circle to a meaningful finish. The track concludes with a final burst of energy in the line, “This is what the damage can do.”   

Through the whole song, Johnny Football Hero takes listeners through a whirlwind of emotions. The band has a way of getting listeners to feel what we’re meant to feel in this track while also allowing us to release the emotion through the music. A rawness in the vocals adds realness to the song, and the consistent change of pace keeps it unpredictable. We get a taste of a lot of different musical directions in one cohesive track, and every direction is new and exciting. Johnny Football Hero keeps it new and interesting, but classic punk. Do yourself a favor and catch “Sister Hellen” on a streaming platform near you!

Hear "Sister Hellen" and more:


-Casey Wolfe

Oregano Entertainment Network

-Mike Oregano 🌿 

Oregano Entertainment Network, Oregano Records


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