Joy

Album: Gardenview (2022)
Play Video

Songfacts®:

  • In this song, Nataly Dawn considers the emotion of joy as if it were a person. She'll show up when you don't expect her, but can leave without warning, and you don't know when you'll ever see her again.

    "Lyrically, it's so hard to write happy songs," Dawn explained in a Songfacts interview. "It's so hard for them not to just feel so saccharin and that this person has clearly never endured hardship. I have trouble writing happy songs and that's because I, as a human, have trouble letting myself experience moments of joy. It's just hard for me to not have my brain immediately go towards negative thoughts of, 'This won't last, you don't deserve this. Someone else is suffering right now.' If I'm having a happy feeling, my brain gets offset by a negative voice. This song was about trying to acknowledge that. The idea that joy is fickle. Joy isn't gonna hang out forever, but also when joy is there you should really just stop what you're doing and enjoy it."
  • Along with her husband Jack Conte, Nataly Dawn is one half of the duo Pomplamoose, who have been ruling YouTube 2008 with quirky original songs and intriguing covers framed with videos that show their creation. She wrote "Joy" in March 2020 in one of the last Pomplamoose recording sessions before the quarantine. She told Songfacts how it happened: "I didn't have a guitar with me. I asked my friend Ryan if I could borrow one of his guitars for the week and he dropped off this beautiful '70s Guild. I pick it up and strum it and I realize that it is in a completely different tuning. Rather than retuning it to something more familiar, I started to play around with it to see what happened. I was just having fun and getting to be a novice at guitar and rediscovering it and seeing what melodies and chords emerged. The more I played, the more I started fine-tuning it and figuring out what I wanted to do.

    The whole song just happened within a matter of hours. It's one of those really magical songwriting stories that everyone will point at and say, 'that's how you write a song,' when in reality, that's not how most songs are written. But I got lucky with this one and I was having fun and playing in this alternate tuning and this song called 'Joy' came out of it."
  • In the music video, Dawn is "Joy," manifested as a flight attendant from the 1960s who sells a guy (played by Joey Richter) a toaster. This relates to the lyric:

    She won't try to confuse you
    She won't sell you a toaster
    She won't tell you how much better
    Your toast could be


    It was directed by Sammy Paul, known for his videos for the singer Dodie.

    "He took it in a different direction," Nataly Dawn said in her Songfacts interview. "My feeling is, you have this joyful experience when you hear the song, and when you see the video there is a darker element to it. I cannot take credit for any of it, it was all Sammy Paul and his interpretation of it. Like we're gonna make a music video about Joy, but Joy is kind of a psychopath salesperson. And it's this idea of, is this joy? I don't know. Can I trust that this is joy? Is she gonna stay? It's almost playing more into this uncertainty when I have feelings of joyfulness. I feel like he understood my struggle."

Comments

Be the first to comment...

Editor's Picks

Deconstructing Doors Songs With The Author Of The Doors Examined

Deconstructing Doors Songs With The Author Of The Doors ExaminedSong Writing

Doors expert Jim Cherry, author of The Doors Examined, talks about some of their defining songs and exposes some Jim Morrison myths.

Edie Brickell

Edie BrickellSongwriter Interviews

Edie Brickell on her collaborations with Paul Simon, Steve Martin and Willie Nelson, and her 2021 album with the New Bohemians.

Pete Anderson

Pete AndersonSongwriter Interviews

Pete produced Dwight Yoakam, Michelle Shocked, Meat Puppets, and a very memorable track for Roy Orbison.

Don Dokken

Don DokkenSongwriter Interviews

Dokken frontman Don Dokken explains what broke up the band at the height of their success in the late '80s, and talks about the botched surgery that paralyzed his right arm.

Devo

DevoSongwriter Interviews

Devo founders Mark Mothersbaugh and Jerry Casale take us into their world of subversive performance art. They may be right about the De-Evoloution thing.

Charlotte Caffey of The Go-Go's

Charlotte Caffey of The Go-Go'sSongwriter Interviews

Charlotte was established in the LA punk scene when a freaky girl named Belinda approached her wearing a garbage bag.