Finally, Chicago-based singer/songwriter Justin Jesso steps out of the shadows to shine on "Getting Closer."

Justin Jesso first came onto most people's radar with last year's "Stargazing," an emotional collaboration with rising Norwegian producer Kygo. The single, and accompanying video, set the template for Jesso's distinctive blend of indie pop, club music, and emotionality, as Jesso's silken soulful vocals and a moving balladic piano line meet catchy, futuristic club beats. It's kind of like Radiohead meets Daft Punk, for sad boys and weekend warriors alike.

On "Getting Closer" Jesso performs a similar feat, using a text message metaphor to detail what it's like being in love with an addict. "Are you getting closer?" asks Jesso in his chilling, soaring soulful vocals. "Tell me that it's over," inquires Jesso. "I could use some closure."



This ability to turn everyday details into poetic evocations of more timeless human struggles is a big part of what makes this young musician so special. "Getting Closer" is timely and timeless, at the same time. You could imagine Ulysses' wife writing something similar in The Odyssey, while there's probably not anyone who lives and loves in 2018 that can't relate to the feeling of loving someone who's distant, and may not be the best for us.

Justin Jesso also offers us a way through the pain, navigating the fog of unhealthy relationships. This is pure Pop alchemy, make no bones about it. Life sucks, sometimes, and loving people is hard. It's impossible to escape the scrapes and bumps and bruises of life, especially when you're young. Transforming this pain and heartbreak into something beautiful, redemptive, and relatable is more than just a great talent - although it's certainly that, as well - it's also a gift, for those of us who turn to music to soothe our wounds and massage our bruised and broken hearts.

Although Justin Jesso has yet to turn out an album on his own, he's already got major talent backing up his corner. Jesso's represented by American Idol's Randy Jackson. He's already got some major Pop accomplishments under his belt, as well, having been nominated for a Pop single of the year with Ricky Martin's No. 1 single “Vente Pa’ Ca” featuring Latin superstar Maluma.

Justin Jesso has been teasing his solo debut for a hot minute. "Getting Closer" will have to hold you over, in the meanwhile. We Are: The Guard cannot wait to hear what this talented young musician will come out with next!


J. Simpson occupies the intersection between criticism, creativity, and academia. Based out of Portland, Or., he is the author of Forestpunk, an online journal/brand studying the traces of horror, supernatural, and the occult through music, fashion and culture. He plays in the dreamfolk band Meta-Pinnacle with his partner Lily H. Valentine, with whom he also co-founded Bitstar Productions, a visual arts collective focused on elevating Pop Culture to High Art.