John Hickman releases “That’s Life”

John Hickman releases “That’s Life”




In his new single “That’s Life,” singer/songwriter John Hickman tells us “Too much power in the hands of too few, climbing up the ladder but never see the view, that’s life” against a churning, almost whirlpool like wall of sound that mercilessly sucks us into its violent waves. The statement is accurate, and if you’ve been watching the news lately, it’s a reality that we’re constantly forced to be reminded of. Hickman isn’t attempting to rub the obvious in our faces; instead he’s trying to exert some of the frustrated emotions that are collectively building beneath the surface through the power of music, and I must say, he’s doing a pretty good job of it.


For a relatively new face in the music industry, John Hickman has been garnering a lot of street cred for his soulful, heartfelt performances and knack for producing sincerely catchy and earnest music. His debut album, Remnants, exploded onto airwaves and charts back in 2016, and fans have been eagerly awaiting for a follow up since. “That’s Life” shows Hickman taking his sound in a slightly more relaxed, insular direction than Remnants, but there’s no question that the stylistic growth between the two is highly noticeable. While Remnants had all the makings of a really awesome rookie release, it had certain structural shortcomings that made me concerned about the longevity and artistic capacity its leading man could have moving forward in his career. “That’s Life” exhibits a much more foreboding, professional-quality foundation in its arrangement that makes it feel not only ready for primetime, but perhaps ready to compete with more experimental artists. There’s a certain swing in the beat that tells me Hickman has been reassessing his approach to composing and incorporating more diverse influences in his writing process. Instrumentally, everything is crystal clear and presented to us in a very sleek package that allows us to get into the groove as well as inspect more subtle nuances with a closer look. I had a fun time listening to the shifting between keys in the main verse and the chorus; for me it recalled Robert Palmer’s mid-career work, where he took his sound in into adult contemporary territory (and it couldn’t have worked out better).


Whether you’re a big fan of Hickman and loved Remnants or are discovering his music for the first time, I recommend listening to “That’s Life” and finding out about the artist who has critics, fans and his rivals talking about him and his unfolding aesthetic. Anyone who enjoys smooth rock that has a little bit of a kick and a whole lot of ironic, playful lyricism is bound to fall in love with his work, and I wouldn’t be surprised if his following grows quite a bit more this summer as this track gets into regular rotation. Now more than ever we need music that speaks out on behalf of the people during the strife and division that has cast a dark cloud over our present state of affairs. Through his voice at least, John Hickman might just be able to stop the rain for a minute.


Michael Rand

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