Zachary Campos – “Pain”

 Zachary Campos – “Pain”

Zachary Campos – “Pain” – Single Review

Alright…I’m gonna be real with ya…Zachary Campos might just rule the world one day.

I don’t know that any of us know exactly what we’re dealing with…yet – and that might even include Zachary himself.  From what I can tell, this dude’s been rampaging the scene with like…way more music than you’d expect to find from someone that’s only been professionally releasing his tunes for about a year or so (under the name Mr. Johnny Ba$h).  Sure, the songs are short – people feed me that same line all the time when it comes to the reviews I write & whatnot – but the reality is the same amount of work can go into a short tune too y’all.  So give this man credit where credit is due…since like, 2022, he’s released something like two albums, two EPs, and a modest handful of singles to go along with it.  Videos too of course…t’ain’t like he’s skimpin’ on all that comes along with it – and I think you’re gonna be surprised by how kickass this guy really is when it comes to the art of the craft overall.  No joke – the explanation I received along with his new single “Pain” from the upcoming album The Prophet would take anyone longer to read than it would to listen to the song itself.  Campos comes on strong y’all…but that’s the way passionate people are.  I’ve been doin’ this shit for so long that I don’t even bat an eye at that kind of stuff now, I just let it run its course, wait until the messages cease, and jump on in to do what I do right afterwards.  Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate the details, the notes, the energy, the ambition, and the passion behind it all – I’m just saying I’m so damn old now that trying to keep up to it all would wear me out.

Anyhow.  The long story real short is that “Pain” is a fraction of the allegorical tale that fuels the story of The Prophet.  Believe it or not, yes, the same guy that brought you “I Love That Cali Weed,” is diving deep into a faith-based theme to drive the songs on his new album, including “Pain.”  What have I always told ya folks?  Religion and music can actually be a significantly badass thing when combined in the right way – and Zachary has found whatever it is that makes that recipe really work its magic.  I gotta admit…I wasn’t completely sure what I was in-store for…with all the notes I received about this song that’s less than ninety seconds long, which mind you, didn’t even include the guy’s name and I had to figure out who the heck I was listening to before I even started writing (fun!) – this ended up feeling like I’d struck serious gold.  He might seem scattered, he might seem overly ambitious, he might write about everything from smokin’ weed to religion…but there’s really something special brewing here.  Y’all know I make no bones about telling you otherwise when that’s the case…and I’d do that here too if I felt like it was appropriate.  It ain’t though – everything I heard in “Pain” revealed a stellar mix of Punk/Pop with College Rock roots…like something you’d find from a cross between the music in between sketches of The Kids In The Hall and something like the Alt-Country/Punk vibes of The Refreshments…but better.  Like I was tellin’ ya at the start, I don’t know if any of us know exactly what, but he is onto something.

As any good single should, it got me curious about what he’d put out before, and given that I had to go down every rabbit-hole of the internet to confirm that what I was listening to was indeed the former Mr. Johnny Ba$h to begin with, I was able to have a listen to the previous record, the Semblance EP, and confirm that this dude has got a real grip on this music thang.  It’s raw still…don’t get it twisted…I’m not claiming that Campos doesn’t have room to evolve and grow in what he’s creating, he does, and I could hear that throughout the tunes on Semblance to a degree – but he’s also beginning with some remarkably strong starting blocks to build an empire from.  Songwriting above all things, seems to come completely naturally to him.  I could hear good things happening on tracks like “Johnny Boy” that needed to be refined a bit more perhaps…but also stuff like “Eyes” and “Water” that proved the low-down drawl of his vocals was actually capable of melody and moments in music that would blow your fuckin’ mind.  Different vibes for sure than what I experienced with “Pain” – and for what it’s worth, I felt like his latest single showed that he’s already taking steps in both his performance and production to get his best onto a recording without having to sacrifice his street cred as the Alt-Punk he is.  The catchiness of the vibe on “Pain” is ridiculously addictive, and I love the fact that the guitar solos he’s got included in the instrumentation surrounding his vocals includes all kinds of notes that are willing to color outside of the lines, but in a way that should be genuinely interesting to everyone listening.  Vocally, I felt like he was straight aces on “Pain” – and that seemed like an upgrade from the past material…which…yes…I get it, we’re basically talking about months when it comes to his past and how much music this guy makes, but you get what I mean – there’s something about “Pain” that seemed really focused and dialed right in.

He’s definitely got me interested in what else would be on The Prophet after all I’ve seen and heard from this dude now.  Hell, maybe there’s a lesson to be learned by not even sending your name to someone…maybe sending us critics and journalist types to every corner of the internet trying to figure that all out is the way to go…I mean, in the process, I learned a whole lot about Zachary Campos…if that is indeed his real name.  As always though, the music speaks to me more than anything else – this dude’s got something really damn good starting up, and I’m authentically excited about where he’ll take it next.  “Pain” is a completely stellar intro into this dude’s world…great lyrics, great theme, great vocals, and it’s a song that’ll seriously surprise you for how addictive it becomes in less than ninety seconds in total length.  “Away from my purpose, I ran,” he sings…but in reality, he’s more likely to be running towards it.

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