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I became a bit of a Jack Johnson song while travelling in New Zealand and being subjected to Flake, the best song on his first album Brushfire Fairytales. After investing in that album and subsequently finding it excellent, I purchased On and On, which was released while I was in New Zealand on 6 May 2003.
On and On contiunes where Brushfire Fairytales left off. It is not exactly differnet or neither does it show Johnson's musical diversity. It is pretty much the same laid back, surfer dude tunes with heart felt lyrics. Jack Johnson has found a groove -albeit an extremely mellow one - and is not going to change for anyone - and why should he? He is obviously producing the kind of music he likes, so why should he start experimenting and producing weird sound tosh that no one wants to listen to? This works so if it ain't broke, don't fix it.
So what is the music like? Well think Evan Dando and the Lemonheads but even more laid back. And on On and on there is the odd bit of reggae, hip-hop and calypso thrown into the usual mix of hippie slow beat alternative pop.
This is exactly the sort of album you imagine being the perfect album for a midnight beach party on the last night of summer vacation, watching the sunset. If you were still at college. Oh and in the states, or Australia. Beach parties in Ireland tend to be wet affairs.
The strongest tracks in my opinion are Traffic In The Sky, Taylor, and Holes To Heaven, although I do also quite enjoy The Horizon has been Defeated. Actually Times Like These is definitely worth a listen. At the same time I like a bit of Dreams be Dreams. Gone and Cupid are two tracks that I would never fast forward through. (Do you see where I am going with this?) Yes, all these tracks are high points. Thank you Jack for a great Sunday afternoon summer time album. Sit back, relax and enjoy.
"Times Like These"
"The Horizon Has Been Defeated"
"Traffic in the Sky"
"Wasting Time" (Johnson, Adam Topol, Merlo Podlewski)
"Holes to Heaven"
"Dreams Be Dreams"
"Mediocre Bad Guys"
"Symbol in My Driveway"
On and On by Jack Johnson
In times like these, it is so rare to get an album like this where pretty much all of the tracks are of really great quality. Listening to this album is much like reaching into a cookie jar; you are uncertain what you are going to get but you know you are definitly going to get a treat! Listening to this album you will really drift off and into slip into a world to let your dreams be dreams but don't worry you wont be wasting time.
This album is pretty much taylor made for jack johnson fans, which each track obviously very different but each unmistakably Jack Johnson. If this were on re-sale tomorrow morning, I would be first in the fall line for a copy.
Jack has included the usual mix of slower tracks as well as a few upbeat songs. There are also a couple of songs in here with a much deeper meaning than Jack is usually associated with, which I really like. These hidden messages for me feels like Jack is releasing himself from a coccon and he can now express himself without fear of the medicore bad guys.
For me this is Jack best album and if you are a fan you need to listen to it.
This is the second of Jack Johnsons studio albums and was released in 2003 under the Universal label.
Most of us know the style of Jack Johnson but if you don't, it is a very relaxing, folky acoustic and mainly upbeat sound, which is accompanied by the unmistakable soothing voice when he sings. In fact, most of the time it just sounds like he's whispering loudly in a melody rather than singing.
In my opinion this is the best of his albums as his own found style shines through in every song. Most of the songs have a real meaning i.e the twin towers attacks (traffic in the sky) or material things (gone). There is the odd song which is a bit more downbeat and gives you the feeling that there is more to the guy than you think, with some instrumental parts which focus more on the playing ability rather than the vocals which is what really makes him stand out to others.
Stand out tracks for me are Gone and Cocoon, although it's not really an album of singles. More of a complete album which flows from one to the next.
Look at the album cover. A guy with a guitar with some trees looking out to sea. That pretty much sums up the relaxing nature of the album and the overall sound of Jack Johnson.
Overall, an excellent album which will put you in a good mood and have your feet tapping all the way through.
Jack Johnson has released five main albums of which 'On and On' was the second in 2003. I would place Jack as a mellow, chilled musician. His lyrics often have a blatant message and this is regularly about simplifying life, spending time with family and the way modern society can corrupt. These are strong messages, but sung in such a relaxed way and not really in your face like other artists.
I first heard Jack Johnson on a TV advert for his album In Between Dreams. I know lots of people who like Jack's music although he has had no real chart single successes here in the UK, although both In Between Dreams and Slep Through the Static albums reached number 1. However, I feel that the artists making chart number ones are all RnB songs, which I'm not a fan of. As Jack's music is completely different, I'm not suprised he has never had a top 20 single in the UK.
Tracks- I will try to sum up the songs and say whether I like them:
1. Times Like These
A song remindng us that while we might sometimes think our experiences now are exclusive to us such a birth, laughing, dying, war that these have all happened before. However, he's quick to point out that all these experiences change the world and our collective experierence means that things will never be the same again. This is vocals accompanied by a guitar and remind me of a campfire song. 3/5
2. The Horizon Has Been Defeated
The idea that something natural like a horizon that everyone experiences every day is being defeated by mechanisation and the way we live today. Quite an interesting concept in this jazzy number. 3/5
3. Traffic in the Sky
This song is a reaction to the 9/11 crashes as there's references to people being scared, always looking up instead of living their lives and 'scrapers'. It's like a response to those who can stop these things happening again to do something and makes such acts seem pointless. The messages are quite hard hitting but the tune is mellow and provocative. 4/5
My favourite song on the alubm about a girl called Taylor who works as a streetwalker unbeknown to her family. She wishes she could get out of it, but she's in a trap and 'she pretends that she's somewhere else...about 2,000 miles from here.' The notion again that runs through many of Jack Johnson's songs that people are individuals and there are people doing things they don't want to do because they feel there is no alternative. If you can catch the music video for this with Ben Stiller it's hilarious. 5/5
Another one I like- it's all about the 'things' people have and that they value these more than people, brains, time, music- everything that Jack values. The style is similar to others hence I like it so much. 4/5
A finger clicking kind of short song about love potentially breaking up 3/5
7. Wasting Time
Another jazzy upbeat song with a bit of electric guitar action that gets your foot tapping. I get mixed messages from this one but I guess it's mainly about us always being confused about our own feelings and ourselves but always thinking we know others really well- whether that's true or not. 4/5
8. Holes to Heaven
A song about arriving in another place where officials can be bribed, diesel fumes are spit out and 'children stare'. I'm not as keen on this one as the tune is a bit more mainstream and the words a little less meaningful. 2/5
9. Dreams Be Dreams
A pretty sounding song with soulful lyrics and chilled guitar about acting on your dreams and making them come true. Nice! 4/5
10. Tomorrow Morning
A song about being away and the person you're away from being a bit annoyed about it- I've been there a few times. Still in the chilled out style but a bit less interesting 2/5
11. Fall Line
A faster paced song about what we see on TV- reminds me of the news, always so depressing. There a bit of crooning call to stop all this negativity with a good line 'aint there nothing sacred anymore' which reminds me of some of the news stories I watch and can't believe people can be so harmful. 3/5
12. Cookie Jar
A jazzier version of above really, trying to lay the blame of where we are. Who to blame for a boy murderer's intentions- the boy, media, parents, films? They all have an excuse why it wasn't them and the song comes round to everyone has their part of blame- 'it's embarrassing' 'we only receive what we demand'. Meaningful but not dictatorial. 4/5
13. Rodeo Clowns
This one is upbeat, sultry and lively about going for a night out. Not so meaningful messagy it's one to dance to. 4/5
Really don't like this one. The tune and breaking up lyrics are so depressing. 1/5
15. Mediocre Bad Guys
Downbeat but still chilled, about society's mediocre bad guys- not too bad, just not good. 2/5
16. Symbol in My Driveway
A day at the beach, talking, laughing and the sea rolling in, rolling out. Suggesting we're pretty unproductive when we've got so much potential- let's put it to good use! 3/5
Imagine Jack Johnson playing and singing these songs sat on a log, facing out to sea and you've got the right kind of image of the songs as a whole.
It's a good album, lots of messages that are pretty akin to things I believe in. I think if you didn't, you wouldn't like it as much. I find songs really irritating if I don't agree with the lyrics, so if this is you but you like chilled out music, the songs on In Between Dreams by Jack Johnson are less 'messagy' and more relaxed, so you might prefer to try these first. However, if you already like In Between Dreams you'll probably like this. I really want to give it 3.5 stars, but a choice of 3 or 4, it just hits a 4.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Times Like These
2 The Horizon Has Been Defeated
3 Traffic In The Sky
7 Wasting Time
8 Holes To Heaven
9 Dreams Be Dreams
10 Tomorrow Morning
11 Fall Line
12 Cookie Jar
13 Rodeo Clowns
15 Mediocre Bad Guys
16 Symbol In My Driveway
17 The Horizon Has Been Defeated