Music Reviews
Jonathan Brenner

Jonathan Brenner

Instagram Success

Waterloo 103 Music

Atlanta-based singer-songwriter Jonathan Brenner unveils his latest long player, Instagram Success, revealing an assortment of stylistic flavors, including jazz, Americana, folk, country, and pop, that makes his sound difficult to pigeonhole.

Brenner began writing songs when he was five years old. His first song, “Goin’ to the Beach,” was written in the hallway of his aunt’s condo in Miami Beach, while clad in water wings, sandals, and a floppy hat. Lyrically, the song was repetitive, lacked a catchy rhythm, and possessed little harmonic structure.

He followed with a series of songs: “Swimmin’ in the Pool,” “Diggin’ in the Sand,” and “Scrambled Eggs.”

Years later, in 2016, Brenner recorded his debut album, Playin’ Hooky With My Baby, with producer Billy Gewin. The album, released in 2018, featured the crème de la crème of Atlanta’s musicians.

Made up of 11 tracks, personal favorites on Instagram Success include the jazz-flavored title track, highlighted by luscious brass layers, a softly sparkling piano, and a swaying rhythm. There’s an effortless retro aroma to Brenner’s vocals, easy and distinctively alluring.

“Hangin’ on the Edge Over You” rolls out on yacht-rock-like textures with hints of smooth jazz. The dreamy flow of the song provides listeners with smooth textures topped by sumptuously sinuous trumpets. Drenched in romantic tones, the song harks back to the passion of infatuation and unrequited love.

Brimming with drawling, twangy colors, “Little Lost Lamb in Dixieland” offers an old-school country melody rife with steel and slide guitars.

Arguably one of the best tracks on the album, “Jesus Loves the Poor” blends jazz, funk-lite, and tints of gospel tangs into a soulful song, at once hopeful and expectant. A stellar guitar solo infuses the harmonics with tight, luminous licks.

On one level complex, while on another level melodically appealing, Instagram Success is sonically plush, unassuming, and beguiling.

Jonathan Brenner


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