Since the early 2000s, North Shore Oahu’s Jack Johnson has been churning out his brand of cool island folk-rock. Johnson’s usual mellow, rhythmic and simple melodies almost instantly transport listeners to a weathered chair on the breezy beaches of Oahu.
Jack Johnson’s sixth album, titled From Here To You To Now, released this week, and it would seem that the 38-year-old surf-rock troubadour is back in full stride.
Following the deaths of his father and another close family member, Johnson shifted his sound in a darker direction on his two previous albums.
However, on From Here To You To Now , he returns to his laid-back, guitar-driven melodies and organic percussive elements. Then he tops it off with some of the smoothest vocals he’s produced to date.
From a technical perspective, this is one of Johnson’s best career releases. Although he doesn’t stray much out of his self-constructed genre of island-rock that draws inspiration from reggae, jazz, blues and folk, Johnson really stretches his ability as a songwriter. Tracks such as “Shot Reverse Shot,” “Never Fade,” “Washing Dishes” and “Tape Deck” present seamless transitions between verse, bridge and chorus, combined with intoxicating layers of guitar slides and drums.
Johnson also brings a lot of sentiment and introspection to the table on this album with lyrics that were written with a lot of heartfelt reflection.
The biggest, and arguably one of the only, downfalls of the album is that it is rather repetitive. The only difference between this album and his early works are better musicality and improved songwriting.
From Here To You To Now isn’t going to launch Johnson into a new dimension of stardom and definitely isn’t anything groundbreaking.
Simply put, if you weren’t a fan of Jack Johnson before, this isn’t going to change your mind. If you are a fan of Jack Johnson, you’ll love it.