Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Jack Johnson - From Here to Now to You

This is going to be hard. When reviewing music/film/books/carpet samples (delete as appropriate) one requires a certain partisan towards or against the respective media. Jack Johnson is an ex-pro surfer, singer/songwriter, father, charity endorser and all-round lovely bloke; this makes potential slander towards his craft a crime, in my conscious, punishable by stoning (a vindication i’m probably guilty of). Luckily From Here To Now To You is a delightful voyage through some of Johnson’s most smile inducing and seretonally inviting tracks to date. After 2010’s inescapably sleepy To The Sea it’s good to see Jack finally dusting off his business flip flops and getting back to his roots.

I don’t care about trends in music. I am aware of them and unwillingly follow them as a result of social media but do I think that music can be universal liked without having to abide to a criteria set but lackluster music bloggers? Very much so.
Jack Johnson has never reinvented the wheel. Not to say there is lacking ambition in his music but as to say he knows what he’s proficient at and has settled comfortably in that wheelhouse. From Here to Now to You is the newly renovated conservatory in this wheelhouse where the Johnson’s keep the family photos of fond memories and the expensive furniture. This LP is inviting, welcoming and homely so please, take your shoes off before you come in.

Opening track I Got You is my new lazy sunday song. Low tempo guitar slaps with xylophone harmonies blend perfectly with Johnson’s buoyant vocals performed with such forthright charm you can hear his smiles coming through the microphone. A wonderfully romantic dedication to his wife where he thanks her by reminding us that “The weights to much alone”. Touching stuff.
Shot Reverse Shot is a playful track further perpetuating the stereotype that white people only dance to the lyrics since it is almost identical to the melody of that Lime in the Coconut number, and that’s OK! On a more cerebral level Never Fade is what I’ve been searching for in songwriting. It’s a celebration of what we have, the virtue of satisfaction is something not to be taken for granted. Modern songwriters seem to capitalize on lorals of misery since acoustic guitars and break-ups seem to resonate with the masses, Jack doesn’t seem to think so. 
As I Was Saying is another standard JJ tune. This does suggest lack of progression from an artist who has been writing songs for over a decade now but if heartfelt lyrics, earworm melodies and masterful rhythms is copping out then Jack Johnson is the biggest crook in the music industry. You Remind Me of You is a throwback to 60s pop whereas Radiate is a pleasant reminder of jack’s proficiency in blues guitar as demonstrated on his 2003 release On & On. 

Organic Jack. Whether it’s within his percussion, the backing vocals or the general production of his albums, everything about this release in particular is organic. Maybe we haven’t witnessed a huge amount of evolution since 2003 and maybe Jack will never have that post-punk experimental phase that everyone wants so desperately but that’s fine with me. From Here to Now to You is a testament to a universally endearing artist. He’s not cutting edge or even the best in his field but Jack is the friend and home I’ll always have and will always put a smile of my face, please don’t ever change.

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