Everyone has the one that got away. The person who you wonder what could’ve been, and every now and then, you wonder if they think about it too. Martin Johnson met that girl in high school, and now he has a song to put his longing message out into the world.
Johnson’s latest project, The Night Game, just released the wistful new single “Do You Think About Us?” from his forthcoming self-titled debut album due Sept. 7. The song’s lyrics tell a story (“Heard you packed up and went back to school/ Met a new man and he treats you cool”) and hide no emotion (“Time to time, I almost call when I see the places we used to go/ I just want to know/ Do you think about us?”) — Johnson clearly isn’t shy about sharing the personal experience that inspired the song.
“My junior year of high school I visited a musical theater college in Cincinnati, the same one my girlfriend at the time ended up going to,” he recalls. “She went on to meet the love of her life there and they’re married now with two beautiful kids. I suppose everyone thinks about the sliding doors. What if I got on that plane and went to school instead of climbing into that dirty 15 passenger van? I’d probably have a few less tattoos. Maybe we’d still be together. Probably not. Either way, from time to time, usually when its late or driving home after a failed first date I do wonder… ‘Do you think about us?’”
The Night Game recruited former Charlift vocalist Caroline Polachek to provide a female perspective on the reminiscent relationship tale. Johnson knew he wanted two voices on the track, but was also passionate about finding the perfect fit because “believability and vulnerability were both really important.” After hitting it off with Polachek at a gathering in Los Angeles’ Echo Park, he played her “Do You Think About Us?” the next day, and it seemed their meeting was almost fateful.
“She said, ‘I like this. Do you want me to try to sing it?’ I suppose it was as simple as that. I’m really grateful to have her a part of it – she’s an incredible vocalist and performer both in the booth and on stage.”
Polachek didn’t publicly share her connection to the song, but seems to love the old-school rock sound of the track. “Living out your wildest early-90s-springsteen dreams,” she wrote on her Instagram story the morning of the release.
The Night Game will be available Sept. 7, with The Night Game setting out on a European and North American headlining tour in support of the album release from September through mid-November. Johnson will also support St. Lucia on eight West Coast dates in October.
Check out “Do You Think About Us?” as well as The Night Game’s tour dates below, and pre-order the album here.
EUROPEAN & FESTIVAL DATES
9/8 Berlin, DE – Lollapalooza
9/10 Vienna, AT – Flex
9/11 Zurich, CH – Plaza
9/12 Dresden, DE – Beatpol
9/14 Gottingen, DE – NDR 2 Radio Festival
9/15 Baden Baden, DE – SWR 3 Radio Festival
9/16 Munich, DE – Strom
9/18 Frankfurt, DE – Zoom
9/20 Hamburg, DE – Reeperbahn
9/22 Cologne, DE – Gebaeude 9
9/24 Amsterdam, NL – Melkweg Upstairs
9/27 London, UK – Electrowerkz
NORTH AMERICAN TOUR DATES
10/8 Vancouver, BC – Vogue Theatre*
10/9 Portland, OR – Wonder Ballroom*
10/10 Seattle, WA – The Showbox*
10/13 Sacramento, CA – Ace of Spades*
10/14 San Francisco, CA – August Hall*
10/17 San Diego, CA The Observatory North Park*
10/19 Los Angeles, CA – The Novo*
10/20 Anaheim, CA – House of Blues*
10/31 Denver, CO – Larimer Lounge
11/2 Chicago, IL – Chop Shop
11/3 Pontiac, MI – Pike Room
11/4 Cleveland, OH – HoB Cambridge Room
11/7 Brooklyn, NY – Warsaw
11/8 Boston, MA – Great Scott
11/9 Washington, DC – Rock n Roll Hotel
11/10 Charlotte, NC – Visulite Theater
11/12 Nashville, TN – Basement East
11/13 Atlanta, GA – The Loft
11/14 New Orleans, LA – Gasa Gasa
11/15 Houston, TX – The Studio at Warehouse Live
11/16 Dallas, TX – Trees
11/17 Austin, TX – The Parish
11/20 Phoenix, AZ – Valley Bar
* Supporting St Lucia