Within the first 40 seconds of “I’m Just a Man” by Buffalo natives Johnny & the Man Kids, a grouping of instruments coalesce one by one—rollicking drums, chiming guitar, a buoyant bassline, a keyboard replicating a theremin, and intervening vocal calls of “1, 2, 3, 4.” Lead singer John Marciniak lyrically pleads with a love interest, tossing his pride to the curb while insisting on living each day to the fullest.
The lines “now I / know that I’ll find / some peace of mind / knowing you’re fine” meet a thunderous instrumental barrage before falling back to that initial guitar line and, fittingly enough, a call to “slow down.” “I’m Just a Man” then reintroduces the remaining instruments only to wipe them all away again with exception of an ascending bassline and ethereal sound effects.
After another build-up, the words enter, flipping the message to “don’t slow down” instead. Upon an impassioned shout of “I tell the world that I’m just a man and I love you!” the tune concludes with the most blistering of guitar solos, courtesy of Andy Pszonak. While some people jump to denounce the current state of rock ‘n’ roll, “I’m Just a Man” affirms that the genre lives and breathes just fine.