I’ve always thought it must be really difficult for a lot of songwriters out there. If they try to do something different and unexpected with their music, they lose a lot of fans who claim “they sold out”, and if they try to sound the same every time they get told they need to do something different – it’s a lose-lose situation.
But some artists seem to find a way to get past such criticism, and Jack Johnson is one such musician. Sure, over his six albums his style has changed a little, with the addition of a keys player, the introduction of playing the electric guitar from time to time, and a more mature songwriting style overall. But really, he has released pretty much the same kind of music every time, and has only gone from strength to strength – I know I will continue to buy every album he ever makes.
From Here To Now To You is his 6th studio album (not counting all his soundtracks and live albums of course), and was released about a week ago around most of the world (and a week and a half ago in Australia and New Zealand, because we’re special). The album opener is also the first single, “I Got You”, released a couple of months ago, and is a typically chilled out Jack Johnson song with a slow acoustic melody, sweet lyrics and whistling to match.
From here, the album becomes a lot louder and more pop-oriented with the songs “Washing Dishes” (which should definitely be a single) and “Shot Reverse Shot”, both of which make me think of the upbeat sort of stuff he was writing back around the In Between Dreams period. This album then slows a little with “Never Fade” before a very fun, entertaining and foot stomping song, “Tape Deck”, which tells of a group of young musicians trying to form a punk band with little money or talent. It then slows a little for a couple of songs, before the cute “You Remind Me Of You”, clearly about his child, and the very upbeat song “Radiate” which is one of my favourites and which is, so I have heard, the second single off the album (as soon as I find a more official video, I’ll replace this upcoming video with that one, but for now listen to the song anyway):
After that, the album finishes off with the darker sounding “Ones and Zeros” and “Change” (which features Ben Harper), before ending, somewhat oddly, on a newly recorded version of his classic song “Home” (which featured as a bonus track on some versions of the Sleep Through The Static album and has been a regular live song). At only 12 tracks, this album might feel a little short compared to some of his others, but it is more than a full enough album in my opinion.
So what can I say? If you like Jack Johnson, you’ll probably like this album. There’s a few new sounds, but nothing ground-breaking – and that’s why I like him so much! This will definitely be on my spring and summer playlist over the next few months!
Are you a fan of Jack Johnson? If so, what’s your favourite song/album? What are your thoughts of his new material so far?