LA's jesse saint john has an impressive resume for someone just releasing their first single. He's already written songs and singles for Britney Spears, Charli XCX, LAUV and Brooke Candy, as well as guesting on a track on the soundtrack for Fox's Empire. He's also co-written a song with another shadowy pop songsmith, Sia Furler and is a cowriter for Camila Cabello’s next single.



Suffice it to say, "Move," available now to stream/download, comes highly anticipated, especially as jesse is on the We Are: The Guard label!  But is the LA singer/songwriter's debut single just a sum of its parts? Is this just more Pop Music, coming from a new larynx?

The good news is, no. "Move" is more than a product of its Pop Royalty genome. jesse saint john cites the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Gossip, and Lana Del Rey as formative influences. He also claims classic glam gender-benders like David Bowie, Prince, and George Michael as influential in not only his sound, but also his style and presentation.

It might be better to say that "Move" is super Top Shelf indie music with razor-sharp production and songwriting instincts. jesse saint john's vocals bring a climactic party vibe, destined to move countless basement dance parties in sweaty ecstasy. His '80s-indebted New Wave synthfunk rocks a synthetic funk bass that would do Prince proud. It also brings to mind the most recent work from fellow retronauts M83.

"Move" brings the restless, reckless abandon and (sometimes foolish) optimism of '80s music, presented in glorious, glowing fidelity. It's optimized for our times. 80s rock often sounds shrill and overbearing, as those young urban professionals desperately tried to delude themselves they were doing the right thing. jesse saint john removes the carcinogenic heart of 80s consumerism from neon-lit dance rock. These days, a bit of escapism can be good for your health.

jesse saint john sets out to "M-o-v-e" his audience, and succeeds admirably. Even if you don't like Simple Minds or Hall & Oates, "Move"'s synthetic bassline and smooth vocals will bring a smile to your lips. We Are: The Guard thank jesse saint john to the bottom of our collective hearts. We need all the smiles we can get, these days!


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.