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You may not have heard about a project called The Night Game (aka musician Martin Johnson) just yet, but I’m going to do you the favor of letting you know about him in advance — you know, before you can only find tickets to the stadium tour on Stubhub for like, $2,000 per seat. For those of you who’ve missed inclinations of classic rock and tinges of 80’s throwbacks, and basically if you’ve just generally missed songs with major melodies — The Night Game will be your jam.
You may recognize Martin Johnson from a former project from the emo era called Boys Like Girls, but even though emo music is back — the new sound is completely different. In fact, generally the only thing that’s the same are the memorable melodies that he writes. The Night Game has released a number of singles since the fall of 2017, including “The Outfield,” “Bad Girls Don’t Cry,” and the latest which will bring all the vibes of a good John Hughes film montage, “American Nights.”

Rumored to be known as the “melody master” in some parts of the music industry, Martin describes the new project by using shoes: extremely worn, suede brown chelsea boots to be exact. Though that might be a confusing analogy for some, just one listen to the standout track, “Bad Girls Don’t Cry,” and somehow the chelsea boots make total sense.
You may also find hints and nodes reminiscent of the legendary Prince in the song, not only with Martin’s smooth falsetto vocals, but also with its’ major moment guitar solo. But what does Martin have to say about the Prince comparison? I’ll take it as a compliment. I think there’s probably a lot of 80’s stuff I’m subconsciously pulling from — but more in the production choices and guitar tones than in the songwriting. There’s also something specifically hot about the LATE 80’s for me — when artists were using digital shit and everything sounded kind of bright, icy and sharp. I grew up in the 90’s doing musical theater and idolizing my cousin who was in a street punk band, so the 80’s was a bit of an afterthought.”

The 80’s references may be subconscious, but the shredder of a guitar solo was definitely on-purpose, thanks to collaborator Kirin Callanan who also plays live for the project. Martin says, “Not putting Kirin’s solo on “Bad Girls” would be like having 1986 Larry Bird on your team and benching him for the finals. I’m so lucky to have that dude on the team. He throws wild, fucked up colors and shapes on these songs that can’t be achieved any other way. Guitar solos aren’t en vogue anymore because we’ve heard it all before. Even I thought that until I heard Kirin play — You hear him on a track and you know it’s him instantly.”
Like a fine wine, take “Bad Girls Don’t Cry” and swirl it around — and watch that the legs of the song are undoubtedly classic rock at its’ finest; waft it’s essence of Bruce Springsteen and 80’s production toward you — and then notice just a hint of the unexplainable flavor that is the soul and gruffness of Martin’s vocal. Check out the video of The Night Game performing Live From the YouTube space LA. 

Night Game’s self-titled debut album drops on Sept 7th. PRE-ORDER here:




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