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Pop - Released December 1, 2015 | Jack Johnson

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Rock - Released September 16, 2013 | Jack Johnson

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On his 2013 album From Here to Now to You, the surfing soft rock superstar Jack Johnson continues the subtle shift in his sound that began on his previous album, To the Sea. Like he did there, Johnson again spices up the sweet and sleepy acoustic ballads that are his claim to fortune and fame with some songs that have a little more bubbly, uptempo pop in their DNA. He and his able band put some surprising bounce in lighthearted rockers like "Shot Reverse Shot" and "Washing Dishes"; give his tale of playing in punk bands as a teen, "Tape Deck," a nice shaggy loping feel; and get almost funky on the jam band-friendly "Radiate." These tracks give the album a few nice jolts of energy, though jolt may be the wrong word. Maybe more like gentle nudges. Certainly not drastic enough to detract from the reliably mellow mood Johnson creates on the rest of the album as his quiet and peaceful tunes work like a shot of musical melatonin. Songs like the sweetly romantic "I Got You," the gently questioning "Don't Believe a Thing I Say," and the truly lovely ballad "Change" are like melodic cocktails guaranteed to give you a light and breezy buzz with no hangover the next day. When he gets a little melancholy, which he does a couple times, he does it in such a pleasant way that the slightly dark sentiments float by like stray clouds. Only one song lets down the side, the treacly and slightly odd ode to parenthood "You Remind Me of You," which equates children with clones and sounds way too silly compared to the rest of the record. This one stumble aside, From Here to Now to You is another impressive record from Johnson. The way he mixes sounds, styles, and moods on the album is, like it was on To the Sea, a nice step in the right direction; the songs are typically strong; and the whole thing goes down as easily as ice-cold soda pop on a hot summer day. © Tim Sendra /TiVo
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Rock - Released September 16, 2013 | Jack Johnson

Booklet
On his 2013 album From Here to Now to You, the surfing soft rock superstar Jack Johnson continues the subtle shift in his sound that began on his previous album, To the Sea. Like he did there, Johnson again spices up the sweet and sleepy acoustic ballads that are his claim to fortune and fame with some songs that have a little more bubbly, uptempo pop in their DNA. He and his able band put some surprising bounce in lighthearted rockers like "Shot Reverse Shot" and "Washing Dishes"; give his tale of playing in punk bands as a teen, "Tape Deck," a nice shaggy loping feel; and get almost funky on the jam band-friendly "Radiate." These tracks give the album a few nice jolts of energy, though jolt may be the wrong word. Maybe more like gentle nudges. Certainly not drastic enough to detract from the reliably mellow mood Johnson creates on the rest of the album as his quiet and peaceful tunes work like a shot of musical melatonin. Songs like the sweetly romantic "I Got You," the gently questioning "Don't Believe a Thing I Say," and the truly lovely ballad "Change" are like melodic cocktails guaranteed to give you a light and breezy buzz with no hangover the next day. When he gets a little melancholy, which he does a couple times, he does it in such a pleasant way that the slightly dark sentiments float by like stray clouds. Only one song lets down the side, the treacly and slightly odd ode to parenthood "You Remind Me of You," which equates children with clones and sounds way too silly compared to the rest of the record. This one stumble aside, From Here to Now to You is another impressive record from Johnson. The way he mixes sounds, styles, and moods on the album is, like it was on To the Sea, a nice step in the right direction; the songs are typically strong; and the whole thing goes down as easily as ice-cold soda pop on a hot summer day. © Tim Sendra /TiVo
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Rock - Released September 16, 2013 | Jack Johnson

On his 2013 album From Here to Now to You, the surfing soft rock superstar Jack Johnson continues the subtle shift in his sound that began on his previous album, To the Sea. Like he did there, Johnson again spices up the sweet and sleepy acoustic ballads that are his claim to fortune and fame with some songs that have a little more bubbly, uptempo pop in their DNA. He and his able band put some surprising bounce in lighthearted rockers like "Shot Reverse Shot" and "Washing Dishes"; give his tale of playing in punk bands as a teen, "Tape Deck," a nice shaggy loping feel; and get almost funky on the jam band-friendly "Radiate." These tracks give the album a few nice jolts of energy, though jolt may be the wrong word. Maybe more like gentle nudges. Certainly not drastic enough to detract from the reliably mellow mood Johnson creates on the rest of the album as his quiet and peaceful tunes work like a shot of musical melatonin. Songs like the sweetly romantic "I Got You," the gently questioning "Don't Believe a Thing I Say," and the truly lovely ballad "Change" are like melodic cocktails guaranteed to give you a light and breezy buzz with no hangover the next day. When he gets a little melancholy, which he does a couple times, he does it in such a pleasant way that the slightly dark sentiments float by like stray clouds. Only one song lets down the side, the treacly and slightly odd ode to parenthood "You Remind Me of You," which equates children with clones and sounds way too silly compared to the rest of the record. This one stumble aside, From Here to Now to You is another impressive record from Johnson. The way he mixes sounds, styles, and moods on the album is, like it was on To the Sea, a nice step in the right direction; the songs are typically strong; and the whole thing goes down as easily as ice-cold soda pop on a hot summer day. © Tim Sendra /TiVo
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Rock - Released January 1, 2012 | Jack Johnson

Booklet
Jack Johnson is such a big deal in his native Hawaii that whatever guests he hires to appear on his Kokua Festival can follow his rules. At the very least, he's gotten Jackson Browne to rewrite part of "Take It Easy," giving the "Winslow Arizona" verse a distinctly island spin. This is the most overt display of deference on Jack Johnson & Friend: The Best of Kokua Festival but it's hardly the only moment where Johnson is clearly the Big Kahuna, nor is Browne the biggest star here. Eddie Vedder stops by, along with many other rockers and guitar strummers of all stripes, and there is a sense of communal good times that's palpable and often ingratiating, even to those who don't quite cotton to Johnson's notion of surf-n-sun good times. Even here, where he is quite clearly the ringleader, Johnson remains an affable but not forceful presence on record: Browne, Vedder, Willie Nelson, even Dave Matthews and Ben Harper, all easily overpower him. And yet there's no question that this is his party: his sweet, accommodating nature is evident throughout these cuts, so much so that they may elicit a smile from the sour doubters who've never found a reason to like his studio records. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Rock - Released May 31, 2010 | Jack Johnson

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Jack Johnson quietly turned into a star over the course of the 2000s, so it’s only fitting that he inaugurates the second decade of his recording career with To the Sea, an album that feels like the work of a soft rock superstar. Of course, that’s what Johnson is, but he’s avoided sounding that way by performing soft-shuffle acoustic numbers, camouflaging his pop move as a soundtrack to Curious George, then getting mellowly introspective on 2008’s Sleep Through the Static. To the Sea blows away the drowsy cobwebs from Sleep, pushing the acoustic guitar to the background and letting his band groove politely, usually in an amiable, unhurried gait that never breaks a sweat even when the musicians goose the tempo a bit. Call it the signature of a surfer so bleached by the sun that he rushes nothing, but To the Sea substitutes the sunset strum-alongs of his earliest records for a sleek daytime sheen that might glimmer too brightly for hippies but it makes for a better overall pop record, the kind of album that suits Jack Johnson’s stature as surfer turned AAA crooner. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Rock - Released May 31, 2010 | Jack Johnson

Jack Johnson quietly turned into a star over the course of the 2000s, so it’s only fitting that he inaugurates the second decade of his recording career with To the Sea, an album that feels like the work of a soft rock superstar. Of course, that’s what Johnson is, but he’s avoided sounding that way by performing soft-shuffle acoustic numbers, camouflaging his pop move as a soundtrack to Curious George, then getting mellowly introspective on 2008’s Sleep Through the Static. To the Sea blows away the drowsy cobwebs from Sleep, pushing the acoustic guitar to the background and letting his band groove politely, usually in an amiable, unhurried gait that never breaks a sweat even when the musicians goose the tempo a bit. Call it the signature of a surfer so bleached by the sun that he rushes nothing, but To the Sea substitutes the sunset strum-alongs of his earliest records for a sleek daytime sheen that might glimmer too brightly for hippies but it makes for a better overall pop record, the kind of album that suits Jack Johnson’s stature as surfer turned AAA crooner. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Rock - Released January 1, 2010 | Jack Johnson

Booklet
Jack Johnson quietly turned into a star over the course of the 2000s, so it’s only fitting that he inaugurates the second decade of his recording career with To the Sea, an album that feels like the work of a soft rock superstar. Of course, that’s what Johnson is, but he’s avoided sounding that way by performing soft-shuffle acoustic numbers, camouflaging his pop move as a soundtrack to Curious George, then getting mellowly introspective on 2008’s Sleep Through the Static. To the Sea blows away the drowsy cobwebs from Sleep, pushing the acoustic guitar to the background and letting his band groove politely, usually in an amiable, unhurried gait that never breaks a sweat even when the musicians goose the tempo a bit. Call it the signature of a surfer so bleached by the sun that he rushes nothing, but To the Sea substitutes the sunset strum-alongs of his earliest records for a sleek daytime sheen that might glimmer too brightly for hippies but it makes for a better overall pop record, the kind of album that suits Jack Johnson’s stature as surfer turned AAA crooner. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Rock - Released October 26, 2009 | Jack Johnson

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Whether you love Jack Johnson, or find his amiable island charm a little too mild for your post-modern comfort, props must be given for his confidently re-creating a niche for acoustic singer/songwriter fare that had its heyday in the '70s. Not since then has a young artist seemed so comfortable projecting a sunny, angst-free persona, in service of a folk-derived, heart-centered musical agenda. His legions of multi-generational fans suggest that the genre, which thrives on gentle charisma, prolific live appearances, and native comfort in concert settings both intimate and grand, was probably due for a revival. This live album (and accompanying DVD) captures Johnson performing for an adoring mob in his home state of Hawaii, as well as in San Francisco, Paris, Barcelona, New Hampshire, and other locales. Although the renditions here are mostly identical to the versions on his solo albums and numerous soundtracks, he gently breathes new life into them by retooling some of his best-loved numbers into crowd-pleasing medleys. This works to good effect on the album opener "Belle/Banana Pancakes," which pairs a featherweight bossa nova with a bluesy shuffle about domestic bliss, accompanied by roars of approval and recognition from a Parisian audience. Another skilled segue matches Johnson's lightly funky "Bubble Toes" with Charles Wright's '70s soul hit "Express Yourself" -- most likely the only shared reference in the respective repertoires of Jack Johnson and N.W.A -- and displays the singing surfer's earthy ease with an R&B groove. Considering the abundance of live Johnson recordings and the existence of the concurrent concert film, does it makes sense to buy this album? Fans and completists will want to own it anyway, but the additional pull for even casual listeners is that all proceeds from the CD's sales will benefit the Kokua Hawaii Foundation and the Johnson Ohana Charitable Foundation. © Paula Carino /TiVo
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Rock - Released October 26, 2009 | Jack Johnson

Whether you love Jack Johnson, or find his amiable island charm a little too mild for your post-modern comfort, props must be given for his confidently re-creating a niche for acoustic singer/songwriter fare that had its heyday in the '70s. Not since then has a young artist seemed so comfortable projecting a sunny, angst-free persona, in service of a folk-derived, heart-centered musical agenda. His legions of multi-generational fans suggest that the genre, which thrives on gentle charisma, prolific live appearances, and native comfort in concert settings both intimate and grand, was probably due for a revival. This live album (and accompanying DVD) captures Johnson performing for an adoring mob in his home state of Hawaii, as well as in San Francisco, Paris, Barcelona, New Hampshire, and other locales. Although the renditions here are mostly identical to the versions on his solo albums and numerous soundtracks, he gently breathes new life into them by retooling some of his best-loved numbers into crowd-pleasing medleys. This works to good effect on the album opener "Belle/Banana Pancakes," which pairs a featherweight bossa nova with a bluesy shuffle about domestic bliss, accompanied by roars of approval and recognition from a Parisian audience. Another skilled segue matches Johnson's lightly funky "Bubble Toes" with Charles Wright's '70s soul hit "Express Yourself" -- most likely the only shared reference in the respective repertoires of Jack Johnson and N.W.A -- and displays the singing surfer's earthy ease with an R&B groove. Considering the abundance of live Johnson recordings and the existence of the concurrent concert film, does it makes sense to buy this album? Fans and completists will want to own it anyway, but the additional pull for even casual listeners is that all proceeds from the CD's sales will benefit the Kokua Hawaii Foundation and the Johnson Ohana Charitable Foundation. © Paula Carino /TiVo
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Rock - Released February 5, 2008 | Jack Johnson

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Much of the press surrounding the release of Sleep Through the Static recounted Jack Johnson's claim that he gave all his peppy pop tunes over to the Curious George soundtrack and how that, combined with personal losses -- including the death of his cousin Danny Riley, to whom the album is dedicated -- led the surfing singer/songwriter into darker territory for his fifth album. To a certain extent, all of that is true, as the album does open with an atypically stark, moody number in "All at Once" and there are some darker sentiments lurking within the 14 songs here, but it takes some close listening to find the sorrow flowing through some of the words. Some very close listening, really, as Johnson's sand-brushed, gentle voice doesn't command attention. His voice lulls and soothes, so it takes concentrated effort to hear beyond his tone and hear what he's actually saying. Then again, the meaning of Johnson's music doesn't matter as much as the mellow mood, a feeling that he's sustained throughout his albums and doesn't change here. Johnson may use more electric guitars than acoustics on Sleep Through the Static, but he's strumming them like acoustics and his overall aesthetic has not changed at all: he's still a laid-back guy singing songs that roll so easy they glide into the background. No matter what instrument he's playing or what he's singing about, his music still feels the same, which is enough to satisfy his fans but not to win him many new ones. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Rock - Released February 5, 2008 | Jack Johnson

Much of the press surrounding the release of Sleep Through the Static recounted Jack Johnson's claim that he gave all his peppy pop tunes over to the Curious George soundtrack and how that, combined with personal losses -- including the death of his cousin Danny Riley, to whom the album is dedicated -- led the surfing singer/songwriter into darker territory for his fifth album. To a certain extent, all of that is true, as the album does open with an atypically stark, moody number in "All at Once" and there are some darker sentiments lurking within the 14 songs here, but it takes some close listening to find the sorrow flowing through some of the words. Some very close listening, really, as Johnson's sand-brushed, gentle voice doesn't command attention. His voice lulls and soothes, so it takes concentrated effort to hear beyond his tone and hear what he's actually saying. Then again, the meaning of Johnson's music doesn't matter as much as the mellow mood, a feeling that he's sustained throughout his albums and doesn't change here. Johnson may use more electric guitars than acoustics on Sleep Through the Static, but he's strumming them like acoustics and his overall aesthetic has not changed at all: he's still a laid-back guy singing songs that roll so easy they glide into the background. No matter what instrument he's playing or what he's singing about, his music still feels the same, which is enough to satisfy his fans but not to win him many new ones. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Rock - Released September 12, 2005 | Jack Johnson

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Rock - Released May 1, 2005 | Jack Johnson

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Rock - Released May 1, 2005 | Jack Johnson

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Pop - Released May 6, 2003 | Jack Johnson

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It took Jack Johnson two years to break into the mainstream with his debut album, Brushfire Fairytales, and by the time it went platinum in early 2003, his star power was unstoppable. Twentysomethings and college kids across the globe often compared Johnson's comfortable approach to the fiery Ben Harper, so when it came time to make a second album, Johnson basically picked up where the first album left off. On and On is a sparkling sophomore effort, carefully designed to avoid any kind of critical slump. Fans will enjoy Johnson's soothing ballads and boy-next-door charms, never looking beyond the surface of the songs themselves. Producer Mario Caldato, Jr. (Beastie Boys, Jon Spencer Blues Explosion) hones Johnson's feel-good vibe and polishes his signature acoustic guitars, while the musician himself continues honing his genre-blending sound. Johnson gets serious this time, too: he playfully expounds on America's sickening dependence on material things ("Gone") and its subconscious ill will with today's youth ("Cookie Jar"). Other views on world war ("Traffic in the Sky") and a capitalistic, business-obsessed way of life ("The Horizon Has Been Defeated") are gently reflected upon without reproach. Johnson doesn't need to be an aggressive messenger to get his point across; the sales of Brushfire Fairytales make that quite clear. Instead, people listen to Johnson's musical commentary because he puts himself on their level, shunning the philosophical preaching of his counterpart, Harper. On and On keeps things simple in sound and time, and the only noticeable change is that Johnson didn't lyrically restrain himself. There are 17 solid tracks featured here, each one of them rooted in spiritual grooves,funk, and blues. In dire times, Johnson is sunny -- and sunny always feels good. © MacKenzie Wilson /TiVo
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Pop - Released May 6, 2003 | Jack Johnson

It took Jack Johnson two years to break into the mainstream with his debut album, Brushfire Fairytales, and by the time it went platinum in early 2003, his star power was unstoppable. Twentysomethings and college kids across the globe often compared Johnson's comfortable approach to the fiery Ben Harper, so when it came time to make a second album, Johnson basically picked up where the first album left off. On and On is a sparkling sophomore effort, carefully designed to avoid any kind of critical slump. Fans will enjoy Johnson's soothing ballads and boy-next-door charms, never looking beyond the surface of the songs themselves. Producer Mario Caldato, Jr. (Beastie Boys, Jon Spencer Blues Explosion) hones Johnson's feel-good vibe and polishes his signature acoustic guitars, while the musician himself continues honing his genre-blending sound. Johnson gets serious this time, too: he playfully expounds on America's sickening dependence on material things ("Gone") and its subconscious ill will with today's youth ("Cookie Jar"). Other views on world war ("Traffic in the Sky") and a capitalistic, business-obsessed way of life ("The Horizon Has Been Defeated") are gently reflected upon without reproach. Johnson doesn't need to be an aggressive messenger to get his point across; the sales of Brushfire Fairytales make that quite clear. Instead, people listen to Johnson's musical commentary because he puts himself on their level, shunning the philosophical preaching of his counterpart, Harper. On and On keeps things simple in sound and time, and the only noticeable change is that Johnson didn't lyrically restrain himself. There are 17 solid tracks featured here, each one of them rooted in spiritual grooves,funk, and blues. In dire times, Johnson is sunny -- and sunny always feels good. © MacKenzie Wilson /TiVo