Fat Wreck Chords and singer-songwriter Joey Cape, frontman of iconic punk band Lagwagon has had a lockdown more eventful than most.   A reflective album that was written during a year that saw him lose his father, separate from his wife of 20 years, contract COVID, and move back in with his parents as a result of a livelihood lost, ‘A Good Year To Forget’ is a warm and beautiful record make no mistake about it. What a challenging 12 months for any human let alone being able to unravel it all inside your head and get it down on tape in songs that make sense.

Leading the collection is ‘It Could Be Real,’ a song written from the perspective of a disenchanted single person—a person who has experienced the highs and lows of multiple failed relationships. A song that sets the tone of the record and encapsulates everything that’s excellent about this record.  Cape channels his best Neil Young and Ron Sexsmith and a beautiful yet heartbreaking story unfolds but is intended to be light and tongue-in-cheek.


The time Joey Cape spent with his parents over the past year didn’t just allow him to reconnect with them; it also afforded him time to write songs. Because recording studios were shutting down everywhere due to COVID, Cape got creative and turned the “cabana-type thing” he was living in into a home recording studio. “I just decided that if I was going to make a record like this, I should make it in full isolation,” he says. “I have a Murphy bed, so every morning I’d push up the bed, pull out the studio stuff, have some coffee or tea, get out my little chair and off I went.” Despite Cape’s isolation while writing ‘A Good Year To Forget’  His fans will hear much more than just a voice, guitar and bass on this record. Indeed, he ended up playing a lot of instruments when recording the album, including electric and lap steel guitars, piano, mandolin and drums. A real solo album to be fair.

‘A Good Year To Forget’  Finds the positive in the negatives to become a record of pure triumphant beauty and that’s on a serious level.  I was interested to hear the record but as the songs were unfolding and I listened to the lyrics and the emotion in the vocals tied into the excellent arrangments I fell in love with what I was hearing and it really did reach out to me.

These 12 songs, especially on the wistful “The Poetry Of Our Mistakes” and the forlorn-yet-somehow-uplifting “Saturday Night Fever.” Don’t really do anything other than tell their stories but in such an empathetic way it’s hard not to get lost in the emotion of the complete record. ‘Come Home’, a song inspired directly by the words his mother had spoken on the phone, is a beautifully melancholic, folky tune


If you think you had a bad pandemic then spare a second for Joey his has been a real shit sandwich but hopefully, this can act as some cathartic experience and he can heal through his songs I know music can soothe the savage beast in us all and this beautiful record can inspire and help heal.  Take a trip with Joey Cape it might not be what you expect but these beautiful songs need to be heard.


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Author: Dom Daley