Album Preview: Chronic Happiness by John Helix

Spotlight: John Helix

It’s an unwritten fact (uh, until now I guess) that every college English professor is secretly working on their novel. Their mostly autobiographical tale of woe and heartache that will turn out good in the end unless the protagonist dies (don’t knock it, it’s an easy pay off0. That is, except for John Helix.

This English professor has gone down the more honest path of writing and performing his own songs and, as someone who thinks Morrissey instead of Tennyson when it comes to poetry class, I think it’s a bloody brilliant idea.

His self-described songs of weltschmerz (German for “romantic sadness” don’t you know), is brimming with the kind of retro- tinged pop rock that Elliot Smith was known for before he went the way of Keats (that’s the last one I promise). Helix forthcoming album Chronic Happiness is full of sweet vocal melodies, and downbeat summer guitar; with his new single “I don’t speak Los Angelese” a prime example.

Full of jaunty piano and handclaps, Helix infuses the song with quirky, yet self-aware, lyrics and a dreamily positive delivery that sets him apart from Smith. All this culminates into that unlikely occurrence of a professor who, without even trying, is cooler than his students.