Just begins by revisiting Alex Johnson’s music videos for “She” and “Changing Traffic Lights,” which were filmed on Lake Bde Maka Ska and Lake Nokomis, respectively. Recalling also his 2013 ode to a lunch break spent on a Nokomis park bench, Just reconsiders what these lakes mean to him and how central such places of peace are to his music, life, and philosophy.
Through then premiering and dissecting each of the unreleased tracks on Changing Traffic Lights, Just realizes how the new record extends the consideration of means and obstructions to tranquility begun on Enlightenment, his sophomore album.
“I feel the light coming through, I hear the sound ringing true” is Just’s refrain on the Doors-like opening track, “Alley Bells.” Ultimately, though, Just’s songs, along with the orchestral arrangements of Tyler Tholl and Adam Conrad, are as attentive to the shadowlands that must be traveled through, or tuned out, if, like the protagonist of “She,” one is to reach “a perfect sunrise.”
Editor’s note: City Pages is proud to be hosting writer Simon Calder’s Back to the City: MPLS Music Conversation podcast on a bi-weekly basis. The podcast is recorded and edited independently, and the views expressed by Calder and his guests are their own.