Johanna Dadap Smolders on “The World’s Gone Up In Smoke”

By Deuce

There’s good work on Johanna Dadap’s single “The World’s Gone Up in Smoke”, which manages to achieve a couple points of noteworthiness.

For the most part the track is a piano-laden ballad. It’s simple and hearkens back to a time, perhaps, in which society and its post-modernist trappings were, as well. However, there’s a smattering of guitar (which almost sounds tubed sometimes, yet always expressive) that punctuates some of those chords, making them more plaintive in parts, and helping them to spark a sense of vibrancy in others.

It greatly appears that all of the above is credited to Paul “Taffy” White, who also produced the tune. Mind you, this is a five-plus-minute song, so the preceding formula proves to be a gripping combination with Dadap’s winsome vocals for about the first verse and hook.

Her voice itself is husky and well-timed, although it’s difficult to understand what she says at times. The sentiment of the cut, however, and the melody she invokes are unmistakable, and are the centrifugal force around which the song is built. She sounds best when she’s harmonizing with herself, taking up a couple background tracks to protract some sweet sounding “aahs” that impress with their sensitivity and pleasing delivering.

From a purely songwriting viewpoint Dadap isn’t above utilizing a variety of clichés, which will likely change in time with practice. However, there’s a moment in which Taffy kicks in a clean rim shot, a full-fledged drum pattern, and a smooth bass drop to propel the tune into what’s arguably the zenith of its movements during this number.

That’s when all the promise of the first part of the cut truly materialize. There’s a rhythmic pace to the work, more lamenting by the vocalist, and that electric guitar of Taffy’s begins to cascade, showcasing some of the best moments on the song. Plus, Dadap really opens up on her background vocalizing, which only makes the verses and hook that much better, giving the listener something to which to look forward.

At times the guitar takes on country and western pretensions, but the melody is too pure and the message much too unadulterated for that genre. In this respect Dadap shows much promise, possibly hinting at future tracks to come.  

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