Jack Johnson - Sleep Through the Static

2008-12-24 09:54
Not that he ever actually ever sounds pissed off. Miffed more like. Hell, his hammock-slung guitar strums and bedside comforting croon are so darn sanguine you almost expect him to start belting out Cat Stevens' "Morning Has Broken" any minute. But he doesn’t. Like any troubadour worth his trade, Jack doesn’t deign to give us any answers to any of life’s questions either. Instead, he simply wonders why world peace has to be a pipedream on the percolated acoustic funk hip sway of the title track before airbrushing a bittersweet sketch about alienation with a balmy Hawaiian reggae backbeat ("Hope").
So it’s pensive, yet seldom sombre stuff. See Jack’s just too much of an idealist to give a mid-life crisis any real airtime. Rather than sit perched atop his self-pity pot he sweetens some of John Lennon and Yoko’s love into the cod-Lambchop melancholy of oceanic pop lullaby "Enemy". Later he takes the edge off what could’ve been a harrowing confessional about the insanity of being a serial monogamist with some snug Beach Boys ‘whoo-hoo’ wop harmonies ("If I Had Eyes"). Say what? Uh-huh. Jack’s stoned surf ‘n turf tunes are almost arty at times.

Not arty enough though. The achingly tender lilt of love songs like "Same Girl" or the 'stop the world I want to get off' lullaby "Adrift" gently unwrap life’s little idiosyncrasies without ever sounding 'heavy' about those pesky emotional highs and lows…which is cool if you’re a James Taylor or Michael Franks fan. But if you prefer some blood in your bowl of existential oatmeal then these adult contemporary musings about true love ("Angel") and sitting with the feeling that you 'can’t get no satisfaction' ("Monsoon") eventually become so monotonous that you end up not giving a damn whether he's singing about the world ending with a bang or a whimper.

- Miles Keylock

"Sometimes it feels like a heart is no place to be singing from at all" sighs Jack Johnson on opening acoustic gambit "All at Once". It’s a moody slow motion blues strum about global warming. Yes. The Hawaiian ex-pro surfer’s got a lot more on his mind these days than fretting over how big that point break is going to be. Now 30-something and married with kids he’s having a little bit of trouble handling the war on terror, raising a family, keeping his wife happy and um, being afraid of flying.

What to read next: Kalahari

James 2008/02/20 10:52 AM
arty surfing? he's a surfer! why should he have to be arty? its about the vibe not some pretentious wank!
kutey 2008/02/20 4:04 PM
duh The point is he tries to be arty but doesn't get it right. Maybe because he's a stupid surfer?
dude 2008/02/21 1:28 PM
Jack is great! Jack's music is great. It's just laid back, and I think anyone who has had a hard day in their life would appreciate the mellowness!
Winston 2008/02/21 2:14 PM
arty???????? Any form of music is arty he is good enough for millions he is a true musician with very deep lyrics maybe the people that criticize him are just to shallow to understand his depth To me he is the next generation to the likes of Rodriquez
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.