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Jawbreaker is Horrifically Immersive

Henry Morris' debut album transports viewers into a beautiful horror film.

Jawbreaker

Photo Courtesy of Henry Morris


With the recent surge of campy and bubblegum pop stars, such as Chappell Roan, Sabrina Carpenter and Troye Sivan, it seems that sad boy grunge has taken the backseat in mainstream media. Thankfully, the internet’s newest boyfriend, Henry Morris, is renewing the genre with his delightfully morbid storytelling and retro charm.  


His debut album, “Jawbreaker,” was released June 21 and is available on Spotify as well as other streaming platforms.


“I feel for the longest time, I’ve been trying to put a positive spin on [my work] or say I’m creating for a good reason and because it makes me feel better,” Morris said. “But if I’m being honest, positivity doesn’t make me feel better at all, and I’m not [creating] for anyone but me. When I’m doing music, I get to bum everyone out, and that's what I wanna do.” 


After graduating college, Morris produced and wrote songs for multilingual rapper Saint LaVant and toured with the musician through North America, Europe and the Middle East in 2023. When the tour was completed, the young musician moved back home to Los Angeles and reevaluated his creative choices made under his previous stage name, Playyard. 


“After this huge dopamine spike of seeing the world but being on tour for somebody else, like I produced those songs but they weren’t there to see me and I just felt unseen,” Morris said. “I thought, ‘I don’t want to make fucking R&B.’ I don’t want to make Dominic Fike pop just because people are going to like it.”


Despite Morris’ warm and talkative disposition, his debut album is tinged with pessimistic tones based on his own experiences or his interest in morally gray figures. The eighth track in the album, “Nightclubs in Heaven,” is based on a Tom Waits interview that affirms the folk musician’s substance addiction. Morris’ storytelling is thoughtful, an immersive track list that transports listeners into the minds of the depraved. The album imagery is vivid and Morris discussed what he pictured when curating the track’s mood.


“You’re a nepo baby, lost all your money. This lifestyle made you fuck over everybody you know, and no one likes you anyone,” Morris said. “All you have left is a really beat up car that used to be beautiful. You’re driving, you have nowhere to go and you’re just going till you run out of gas. You pull up across a motel that looks like the most dingy piece of shit you’ve ever seen in your life, but you’re almost on empty.” 


Henry Morris

Photo Courtesy of Henry Morris


Another track on the album, “Hollywood Sex Tape,” combines a classic cautionary tale of stardom with Morris’ conflicting backgrounds being born and raised in Los Angeles while the rest of his family originates from the Midwest. While not the biggest horror fan, many of Morris’ songs and visuals lean towards the macabre in terms of lyrics and aesthetic. 


“When I’m making this genre of music, I want to feel almost a monstrous, visceral fear but it is numbed over by something pretty,” Morris said.


2010s Tumblr grunge can be encapsulated by artists like The Neighborhood or Tove Lo, and Morris fits this mold through his introspection and ability to make small emotions and incidents feel explosive. Thankfully, Morris doesn’t allow himself to be pigeon holed into one angsty genre by incorporating his love for older musicians such as Johnny Cash, Ricky Nelson, and Cowboy Junkies through eerie harmonies and relaxed tones. 


“I want my listener to feel like they are listening to lyrics when they are listening to a guitar solo,” Morris said. “I want the guitar to be coarse and slightly out of tune like an old band from the 50s.” 


Morris emphasizes that the 11 months spent creating the 16 tracks of Jawbreaker have been the happiest he has been in his creative career. He is currently fine tuning his live performances of his new tracks and keeping fans on their toes by working on a new album with stylistic choices that completely oppose Jawbreaker


“This project, I’m not doing it for just connection anymore. I might be alone like out on the campus or out on the fucking playground, but this time it is intentional,” Morris said. “If you want to come and be a part of this, you’re welcomed, but I’m not looking for you.”


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