Over palm-muted guitars, clean-cut arpeggios, and thrumming bass, Juan Antonio Lopez sings “sometimes I know I think too much, and things get harder every day.”
Lopez is no stranger to difficult times. In a short span of time, his two-year old niece suffered from a brain tumor (thankfully she has since recovered), his university music professor ridiculed his compositions, friends and family members passed away, his longtime band broke up, and his girlfriend moved away. The title of his previous biography was literally “Sofa City Sweetheart: A Tradition of Failure.” In other words: there were many instances in which Lopez could’ve – perhaps even should’ve – given up music. But he couldn’t.
Persistence pays off. Writing, arranging, recording, and engineering all the music himself, Lopez’s new album tangles together his spectrum of childhood influences, while transforming tragic circumstances into stories of acceptance. Over layers of gentle guitar sit toe-tapping melodies and intermingling Beach Boys-esque harmonies that merge art and feeling, spinning stories that tie the persistent tragedies in his own life to the stuck-to-it-iveness that’s often required in any contemporary artist.
Titled Super(b) Exitos, a play on the phrase “super exitos” (“greatest hits” in Spanish), the new album from Sofa City Sweetheart is lush and exciting: an effortlessly melodic and imaginative collection, calling back to the best pop of the 60s with dashes of jazz and spaghetti western thrown in.
“Juan’s quiet yet devastating voice conjures images of Elliott Smith and John Lennon.”
“…decadent, harmonious pop of the highest order. Whether accompanied by strings, piano, or both, this promising balladeer tugs at all the right heartstrings and possesses more potential than most of the artists I’ve critiqued in this issue combined.” —The Big Takeover
“California dreamin’ acoustic-pop all took up in Byrdsian vocal harmonies, Brian Wilson big-band arrangements and Elliott Smith melancholy. The project of sun kiss’d songwriter, performer, producer and sound engineer J. Lopez.”
“Reminds me of the elegance and eloquence of the late 1960s.”
The live band features the lovely and talented:
“You need a mess of help to stand alone.”
— Brian Wilson/Jack Rieley