Friday, March 7, 2008

Sleep through the Static

Who loves Jack Johnson?

His music is perfect for beautiful warm weather or just for relaxing when you need to mellow down. Well, as you all probably know, he has just come out with his fifth studio album Sleep through the Static which was recorded in his Solar Powered Plastic Plant in LA; thus, this is his first album not recorded in Hawaii. Unlike some of the other albums, this one is pretty slow and mellow. There are not many tracks that are upbeat like "Mudfootball" or "Bubble Toes"--more like "Mediocre Bad Guys" or "Do You Remember" throughout. I'm not saying it's a bad thing; it's just different. Different can be good for music artists.

Since its release, not only has Jack climbed the charts to number one for his album, but he was on the cover of Rolling Stone. It's an awesome picture. He's poking out of the sand, an exact image one would have of Johnson. The article had some very interesting facts, none that were too surprising. Johnson grew up in Hawaii, where he now lives with his wife and child, with a mellow father who taught him to be confident. He literally learned to play around the campfire but he was shy about his singing voice. His mother encouraged him to sing and not be shy. Surprisingly enough, he was influenced by The Doors, Jimi Hendrix, Violent Femmes, Bob Marley, and Van Morrison. Such a different sound.

Johnson then went to college in California where he met his wife. He didn't consider to have a career in music for a while. He used it to impress his wife instead. His focus at college was filmmaking; he even helped out on the Foo Fighters' "Breakout" video. Interesting his slight inclusion into the music business, huh?

Then, he abandoned surfing so competitively after he had a major surfing accident. He was turned off by the aggressive competition from other competetors. He still surfs adamantly, often using it as a break tool from the hectic music business. What I like about Jack is that he stops touring when he gets bogged down by entertainment noise and the downs of the music industry. He keeps himself humble, and reminds himself of how wonderful it feels to also walk down the beach--not always surround oneself in the media or entertainment. He says, "You've got to listen to your dreams. That's how I know I need to kick back and get out of the public eye." Hell, he doesn't even have cable TV! Says it's a waste of time. Imagine...

Before he became famous as a solo-act, Johnson played in a band called Soil which opened for Dave Matthews Band until Ben Harper cut him a huge break on tour and his popularity grew from there. Now he's touring like crazy, and he'll be at Bonnaroo when I'm there this summer!! I can't wait to feel consumed by his chill presence with his mellow music.

What I found really interesting about his music-making process is that his music comes in two ways. He either starts singing a chorus, some catchy melody that just comes to him. Then the other lyrics come from another place, something more serious or meaningful. I think that's so interesting.

Jack Johnson on his music: "The songs have power. Sometimes, on tour, I feel like I'm a cover band, and I'm the lucky bastard who gets to sing the songs they want to hear."

Sleep through the Static is filled with tons of love, or broken love. "Angel" and "Same Girl" are for his wife, while the single "If I Had Eyes" implies a broken love. Perhaps this CD has a more mellow, low-key sound because it is dedicated and created for Danny Riley, his wife's cousin, who died recently at 19 from a brain tumor. He was also an aspiring song writer. Johnson says that many of the tracks on the album are about him or his children. Johnson says, "It's about learning to let go of someone you love, watching them swim away."

Such is so with "Go On, a song that is my favoite, and I think encompasses the theme behind this entire album:"

In my review
I watch you watching the twilight
Behind the telephone lines
With nothing to prove, or to assume
Just thinking if your thoughts are different than mine
In my review
I watch you
I give you your life, would you give me mine?

I see you slowly swim away
Cause the light is leaving town
To a place that I can`t be
There`s no apologies

Just go on
Just go on
There`s still so many things
I wanna to say to you
But go on
Just go on
We`re bound by blood that`s moving
The moment that we started
The moment that we started

I see perfect little lives
Watch the shadows of the clouds
And the surface of the ocean out the window of a plane
I get nervous when I fly
I`m used to walking with my feet

Turbulence is like a sigh that I can`t help but over think

What is the purpose of my life
If it doesn`t ever do
With learning to let go
Live *life recklessly* through
You can do the same
It`s the least you can do
Cause it`s a lonely little chain
If you don`t add to it

So go on
Just go on
There`s so many things
I wanna say to you
Go on
Just go on
We`re bound by blood and love
The moment that we started
Just go on
Just go on
There`s still so many things
I wanna say to you
Just go on
Just go on
Were bound by blood that moving
The moment that we started
The moment that we started

What do you think of the new CD? Any favorite songs?

What do you like about Jack Johnson?

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