BRUSHFIRE RECORDS
BRUSHFIRE RECORDS

I should probably start with a disclaimer: I am a Jack Johnson fan. The reason I say this is because Jack Johnson is often maligned for having songs that all sound alike. This criticism is somewhat warranted, but I have always thought that although there may not be a dramatic change in the sound and style of his music over the years, Johnson has always managed to mature with his music. There’s a polish to his newer music that isn’t as evident in his earlier works. From Here to Now to You is a prime example of a work from a more advanced artist.

Johnson’s music is still just as breezy and easygoing as it has always been. The album was recorded in Johnson’s own Mango Tree Studio in Hawaii with Mario Caldato Jr., who produced his 2005 album, In Between Dreams. In a later album, To the Sea, Johnson moved toward a more electric sound, but in his latest release, he has returned to his familiar acoustic sound. But that doesn’t mean that this is just a reproduction of his past works.

Johnson has infused a little more folkiness and originality in these new songs. “Radiate” is an upbeat, funky tune that demands to be danced to. “Shot Reverse Shot” is another great, positive number. Going at a near ceaseless pace, Johnson delivers a toe-tapping beat that allows you to forget about the somewhat senseless lyrics. The folkier “Change” is aided by a Hawaiian slide guitar and backup vocals from Ben Harper.

Johnson has always had a knack of making songs about the mundane seem much more exciting than they should. Although no one can claim washing dishes to be their favorite activity, one of the tracks is named exactly after that chore. Johnson makes it a lot more interesting by telling a story of a dish washer who wants a girl to fall in love with him, even though he may not yet be up to her standards.

Johnson is at his best when he is at his most mellow. It’s very obvious that he feels at home in these songs, and the mellower tracks off the albums are his deepest, most acoustically arresting pieces. Among these is “I Got You.” It’s a slow-paced acoustic song with a gentle drum beat about how all one needs is his or her significant other. “You Remind Me of You” is the most bare-bones song on the album. It’s short and features only Johnson’s own vocal talent and his acoustic guitar. When listening to it, you can’t help but feel like you are sitting on a beach in Hawaii with Johnson strumming and singing on his guitar right next to you.

Although much of his music appears simple, “Ones and Zeros” features an impressive guitar riff. He experiments with different vocals as well, which leads to perhaps one of the album’s most successful songs.

Jack Johnson’s new album is probably the mellowest one he’s released yet, but also the most complex and mature. He’s not an artist that relies on formulaic songs to remain relevant, but he has proven that his brand of easy listening music is not going stale anytime soon.

Have a reaction to this article? Write a letter to the editor.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*