MDR Selects – Johnny and Rose

MDR Selects, a series where we invite our favourite artists, record stores, labels and more to curate a playlist of songs that hold specific meaning to them.

This edition sees selections all the way from Normandy, France! Rouen-based trio Johnny and Rose make what they like to call ‘homemade pop’. Originally a duo, the now three-piece are made up of Aminata, Adam and Zaina – plus one guitar, half a drum-kit and a toy keyboard. Their energetic live shows contain spell-binding story-telling, rich vocal harmonies and folk-esque guitar lines, amalgamating to a unique sound you’ve not quite heard before. Here’s what they had to say about the tunes they’re digging right now:

“We chose songs that the three of us enjoy. We really love Dolly Parton’s ‘Jolene’ and ‘I Will Always Love you’, even though the latter is associated more with Whitney Houston. We prefer Parton’s original version because she shows vulnerability, which we find more touching. 

We are also great fans of Courtney Barnett. Since we started the band, we decided to do more songs where we sing like we’re having a conversation with each other, as Barnett does with Kurt Vile in ‘Continental Breakfast’. We’re also inspired by her writing – in ‘Avant Gardener’, she sings about gardening to distract her mind from how hard life seems and suddenly has an asthma attack. When she sings ‘I’m not that good at breathing in’, it seems like maybe she’s singing about how hard it is to deal with life and not only about living with asthma. We enjoy songs that talk about daily life with quirky lyrics, but also have a deeper meaning. We try to write songs like that too.
You can tell from our music that we also enjoy older songs – ‘Bang Bang’ by Nancy Sinatra, ‘I’m On Fire’ by Bruce Springsteen and ‘Gimme, Gimme, Gimme!’ by ABBA. This is probably why we also like Lana del Rey, who creates songs that are reminiscent of the 50s/60s. 
Oh, and we love Christmas! Decorations, clothes, songs, music, food… As you can see in our ‘Christmas Medley’ (starring Oscar, the best dog in the world), we went all out decorating the studio we recorded the song in. To be honest, I think we could listen to Christmassy/Winter songs all year long.”