Piñata Re-Releases Droppin The Candy Along With More Treats!
Today we bring you the re-release of the album Droppin The Candy by the multifaceted band Piñata. And you see that album art cover? Looks trippy doesn’t it? Well, believe it or not it’s not a late night LSD-laced concoction. No, this piece of art is actually a transmigration of sorts of a very significant and bonding roadtrip the bandmembers of Piñata took through northern Spain in 2014.
The album title is actually in reference to the group’s name (I don’t think I need to explain to you what a piñata is, do I?); they are a musical piñata and on this album they are dropping the metaphorical candy of different musical styles. Thus when you click play, consider yourself, the listener, as a kid giving the bat that final rewarding swing that busts the piñata open and showers the air with delicious treats.
The first of those treats is the Reggae-Jazzy number “Another time”. This was actually the first song created for the album. It was written by lead singer Pintos Jansen somewhere between 2009 and 2010. The lyrics symbolize his drive for creativity and perseverance to push through a rough patch he was going through in his life at the time, a mentality which eventually paid off in spades.
The second track on the album is the Pop-Melodic gem with a dash of Hip-Hop titled “Feel”. This song is the epitome of metaphorical language use. When you initially hear the lyrics you immediately deduce that this could be about nothing other than a girl who has cast a charm spell on the singer. Well, folks, you would be wrong. So very very wrong. You want to know what it’s actually about? The lead singer’s contentious relationship with governmental tax revenue services in the Netherlands. Yeah. Give it a listen and see how that one shakes out.
Read about ‘She’s Above My Head’ here.
The next track “Monster” is a tense alternative and futuristic effort which also goes heavy on the symbolism. It is ultimately a lyrical sketch of the internal struggle inherent in the human experience and gives weight to that moment when we look ourselves in the mirror, deciding whether or not we like what we’ve become.
Up next we have the introspective Rock number “Johnny Walking”. Of all the songs he wrote for the album, this one means the most to Pintos. It addresses his very long and arduous relationship with his then-girlfriend and mother of his child, a relationship in which he invested a great deal and was met with little reciprocity. This relationship also caused him to eventually lose his sense of self as he was practically bending over backwards to please her. And this in turn caused him to go down a spiral of depression during which time he took to the bottle. Hence the title track “Johnny Walking” – a reference to the world famous brand of Scotch whisky Johnny Walker – which symbolizes his subsequent addiction to alcohol at the time (thankfully he has since kicked the habit).
Moving along we have track number six titled “New Day”, an upbeat number which has something in the way of a battle-cry. It is basically an encouragement to listeners to keep on fighting through the bad days and to keep optimism alive even as things seem at their worst. Ultimately being happy with starting all over again because tomorrow is always a, say it with me now, new day.
At track number seven we have “All I Know”. This entry is a Reggae effort which tells the story of band member Rinse Buurma’s intense relationship with a girl, which unfortunately did not work out. It is actually based on a song Rinse himself had written but Pintos put his own special twist to it with many tongue-in-cheek metaphorical allusions to Rinse’s upbringing and the circumstances surrounding the relationship. And the reason for the title “All I Know”? It’s a statement that all Rinse had known about love was her (up until that point anyway).
The next track “Paco” is quite a trippy number which talks about the adventures of a lizard in the desert who goes by that name. As you can imagine this is another metaphorical piece and Pintos was inspired to pen it down after he saw the animated movie “Rango” starring the voice acting of Johnny Depp. Paco’s plight to cross the road stands as an apologue for the internal battle many people face as they contemplate making major life decisions. But in the end “it’s all about crossing that road” and seeing what happens.
Pretty deep, right? Well, the next song goes even deeper.
The title “Divine Intervention” already gives you an idea of where this is headed. It is a nice mellow Rock number which deals with the topic of spiritual reawakening. And it actually came about as a result of discussions Pintos would frequently have with his aunt – who gives seminars about spiritual healing, life healing and things of the like – about the topic of spirituality. During these discussions the term Divine Intervention came up. Although he believes in its merits, the sober Pintos was hesitant to fully get behind the concept. Sensing this, his aunt eventually said to him: “Just write a song about it”. And so he did, incorporating elements of his own life into the mix.
Skipping ahead over the interlude “El Camino” we get to track number eleven: “Piñata”. This Mariachi heavy and immensely energetic origin song – sung fully in Spanish – serves as a bit of an introduction to the band while simultaneously functioning as a recollection of Pintos’s youth in Aruba. Although born and raised there, he is Guatemalan on his mother’s side and grew up immersed in Latin culture; he spoke Spanish at home and had been introduced to the tradition of piñatas from a very early age. This was one of the very first songs created for the album – also one of their debut songs – and it always got the crowd jacked whenever they played it at their shows, opening many doors to many gigs for them in the Den Haag area and beyond.
Keeping the wild energy momentum going we have the high-octane Rock jam: “Last Stop”. The song is actually about a world famous Hawaiian surfboard shaper, whom Pintos knew personally. “The man is supremely talented. I mean in an age when surfboards are almost exclusively made by machines, he still makes them at a professional level by hand. But unfortunately his life was a mess, he was addicted to drugs and alcohol and this caused him to hurt many people. At a certain point his erratic behaviour came to a head and I wound up sitting with him in a trailer, trying to talk some sense into him. At that moment he was just about at the end of his rope, you could see it in his bloodshot eyes that he had reached a point of no return. And that’s what this song is about, it is simply my attempt to try to fathom what could have possibly been going through his mind when he had reached his crossroads in that trailer. That’s why it’s called “Last Stop”.” Fortunately, today he lives happily in Portugal.
Track number thirteen is the Jazzy “Life At F.A.S.T.”. The term F.A.S.T. is an acronym for Free Architecture Surf Terrain, which was a surfing village in Den Haag in the Scheveningen area. This was where the band Piñata was born; here was where the band members first came together, here was where they held their first rehearsals and here was they played their first show. This song pays homage to that (unfortunately F.A.S.T. closed its doors in October 2015).
And then we have the Reggae crooner “Durke’s Circus”, the penultimate track. This song was born in Pintos’s mind when he was working with a friend making skateboards. This friend had a line of longboards called “Durke’s Handcrafted Longboards”. He also organized festivals called “Durke’s Circus” where you would find clowns, firespitters, Romani music and musicians having jam sessions, among others. Thus in essence the song is a playful description of having a ball being acting crazy at that circus.
And so we arrive at the final track: “French Jam”. You remember what was said at the beginning of the article about Droppin The Candy’s album art and the band’s trip through northern Spain it represents? Well this song is all about that trip. Fun fact: This song was recorded in its entirety in one take!
Well there you have it: Droppin The Candy. And in addition to the album re-release, we also bring you the release of two new remixes to “Johnny Walking” which are the LarryKoek remix and the Billy the Kit remix.
Listen to the album here!