John the Ghost, more commonly known as John O’Callaghan, lead singer of the band The Maine, has released his debut album I Only Want to Live Once. The time he spent in isolation during the pandemic in 2020 gave him the perfect opportunity to work on his solo material. What he has ended up with is an eclectic mix of songs.
Every song brings a different kind of joy for example ‘Y’ is more of an upbeat song that you can dance to, where the single release ‘Rolled Down Window’ is a perfect summer song as the name suggests. It has a retro sound that is sure to bring everything the listener loves about summer to the forefront of their mind.
Now if you stumbled on this album because you’re a fan of The Maine there’s even a track especially for you in ‘So So’ which has a catchy guitar hook. Don’t worry if you’re not a fan of The Maine though there’s plenty for you too, especially lyrically.
It’s no surprise that O’Callaghan excels at writing passionate lyrics and ‘Live Once’ is a great example of this. With the song urging us to keep going in spite of the hand we may be dealt telling us “We all try / And then we die / So look alive now” to a synth beat.
Another single release ‘Drive’ has a dreamy atmosphere that really shows off O’Callaghan’s vocals as the lyrics roll effortlessly off his tongue. When the chorus kicks in and brings the song up a notch you’ll feel the urge to jump in the car and “Put the whole world in the passenger mirror.”
‘Here-Gone’ stands out as something a bit different and features De’Wayne who raps in contrast to O’Callaghan’s soft voice. They both send a message about living in the now which is very much the theme of the whole album.
Despite the album being released via The Maine’s counterpart label, 8123 it is a departure from a sound you would normally associate with O’Callaghan. With influences clearly rooted in synth-pop to hip-hop, there’s plenty to get your teeth into.