Folk-tinged alt-rocker Jillette Johnson gets haunted by the ghost of a long-dead relationship in the ghoulish “Graveyard Boyfriend,” a spooky new track with a sense of humor premiering on Sounds Like Nashville today (October 28).
Arriving just in time for Halloween, the lighthearted standout features a plot that’s perfect for the frightening times — and reads like a modern version of a dime-store thriller. With the calming chill-rock sounds of her plaintive vocal, clean guitars and a bouncy organ behind her, Johnson sings of getting chased by an emotionally-dead zombie who will keep calling and texting ’til someone puts him out of his misery. But like the heroines of so many classic horror movies, she keeps her wits about her.
“’Graveyard Boyfriend’ was inspired by the many awesome girl groups of the ’60s, like the Shirelles and Diana Ross and The Supremes,” Johnson tells SLN. “I was almost-exclusively listening to Diana Ross’ album, Surrender, when I wrote it (though I know that came out in ’71.) The song is about cutting ties with the legacies of relationships that no longer serve you, and moving the hell on so you can enjoy vibrant new, healthy love. It’s like the shadow counterpart of another one of my songs, ‘Annie,‘ which is about having gratitude for exes. It is possible to be simultaneously thankful for something, and to want to put it in the rear view mirror, and ‘Graveyard Boyfriend’ is all about the latter.”
Johnson’s video, meanwhile, captures the campy nature of the track’s spooky theme. She stitched it together with choice clips from classic, black-and-white horror films, adding the perfect visual complement to the tune — and hopefully, a bit of fun to an especially unsettling holiday.
“2020 has been scary enough, so Halloween this year just feels to me like an outward expression of what our insides feel like,” Johnson says. “For ‘Graveyard Boyfriend,’ I edited a bunch old public domain horror movies together, full of kitschy skeletons and over the top screaming damsels in distress, hoping to add a little levity to these spooky times.”
“Graveyard Boyfriend” is part of the new album from Jillette Johnson, It’s A Beautiful Day And I Love You, which marks her independent comeback after years of feeling trapped by a major label deal. The new track joins her previously released individualist’s anthem, “What Would Jesus Do,” and the whole project is set to arrive on February 12, 2021.