If you haven’t gotten into Giovannie and the Hired Guns before, this is absolutely the album that’ll hook you.
I completely admit I slept on these guys for way too long in the past, but there’s no denying the star power showcased in their third album, Tejano Punk Boyz, which was released last Friday.
The project is anchored by fan favorite “Ramon Ayala,” which is an absolute banger and stays in the rock heavy, punk countryish lane they’ve operated in since their debut album in 2017. While that song is the biggest hit so far, it doesn’t fully capture the depth and substance displayed throughout the rest.
Honestly, the raw openness of the writing took me by surprise. Every track was written at least in part by front-man Giovannie Yanez, but there’s a few solo writes and ones written by just Gio and bass player Alex Trejo that give the group a new dimension, one that brings you into the reality of the people behind the music.
“Calling You Tonight” was the first of these deeper songs to strike me as a change for them, but in such a good way.
The lyrics reveal a longing we’ve all felt, expressed in a super smooth and catchy melody that I’ve been singing since the first listen. It opens the lid just a bit on a mind that still misses that someone, even though it seems like they have everything they want.
Are you gonna be up all night?
Cause I can’t get you off my mind, tonight
How are you?
Its been a long time since I’ve seen you
But I bet you’re still full of life, beautiful
I’m sorry for calling you tonight
I just had to tell you everything on my mind
I may be a little buzzed but I’m just too far gone
I’m sorry for, calling you tonight…”
If “Calling You Tonight” was the start of the curtain being opened, “Can’t Answer Why” pulls that curtain off the rails.
Not only did this song hit like a ton of bricks as I related to the lyrics more than I wish I did, it also confirmed the group did more than just take step up with this album. They completely elevated.
In a raw and open conversation with his darker parts, Gio wrote to himself, for himself, and bared it all in a beautifully self-reflective, yet somehow still hopeful song. My words don’t do it justice, listen for yourself and you’ll understand.
This is THE song.
“Well, maybe I was made for nothin’
Maybe I was made for somethin’
Maybe I’m just tired of being me
I’m just so fuckin’ lonely
I just want someone to hold me
I wish I didn’t need all of these drugs
Sometimes I feel a little crazy
Sometimes I feel a little lazy
But I think I just need some rest
Sometimes I think a little too much
Sometimes I drink a little too much
Sometimes I can cross that line
And I can’t answer why…”
There’s other songs that hit this same vein in different ways, like the epic anthem “Shout” and emo ballad “Numb,” but the second to last on the record is perhaps the best example of how honest and revealing the whole thing is.
Titled “The Letter,” Gio writes about kicking his Xanax habit and the horrors that came with it, while infusing his Mexican roots with a Spanish second verse, and honestly just bares his soul with complete honesty, not holding anything back or trying to polish the facts.
You understand the heart of every song he’s ever written and the ember that still burns within him, keeping him on this path through thick and thin.
“Well baby I see
That it’s easy for me
To ride on the school bus all day for free
They all feel the same
Am I going insane
Or am I turning into a zombie?
Cause lately I’ve been trying
I’ve caught myself crying over
Things that I can’t change or even explain
And maybe someday I’ll find
What I’m really missing inside
Baby, sorry I don’t make it feel like it’s you
And that’s why I’m writing this letter to you…”
I mean, COME ON WITH IT.
Safe to say, this album’s going to be on the rotation for quite a while.
Great work boys, keep crushing it. I can’t wait to see where this takes you, I just know it’s gonna be some place big.