Johnson settles on familiarity on ‘Static’

By Ashley Schofield

Jack Johnson was successful yet again in producing another
compilation of soft, melodic rhythms reminiscent of easygoing
summer days on his new album “Sleep Through the Static,” released
Wednesday.

On his fourth album with Brushfire Records, Johnson not only
produces lyrics that are summer-esque, whetting the ear’s appetite
for sunshine-filled days, but he also used sustainable energy
during the production stages of the album.

The album was recorded 100 percent by solar energy and the
album’s packaging is made from 100 percent post-consumer recycled
paper, in correlation with 1% for the Planet, whose motto is “Keep
Earth in business.” The organization’s main goal is to implement
sustainability in all business practices to preserve the natural
environment.

That is about the only thing out of the ordinary in the album
though. The Hawaiian-born surfer’s style doesn’t stray too much
from the typical sound expected from the singer/songwriter.

The tracks on the album can be easily distinguished as works of
Johnson, who has definitely settled on a recognizable genre.

Even someone whose musical tastes date back to the era of Boy
George would be able to pick up on Johnson’s vocals from the moment
the album starts.

Predictability is a downfall, as “Static” lacks the creativity
enacted on his last album, “Sing-A-Longs and Lullabies for the Film
Curious George,” and doesn’t live up to the classics of “Brushfire
Fairytales.”

“All at Once” starts off slowly to the melodies of the song with
soothing acoustics and mellow vocals. The theme of the song details
overwhelming feelings that getting through life entails, with love
as a focal point.

Lyrical content doesn’t stray too much from stories of love and
hardship and the route to coping with life’s low points.

“Sleep Through the Static,” the album’s second headliner, takes
the pitch up a notch with catchier, upbeat acoustics that continue
on with the third song, “Hope.”

“Hope” again stresses the need for finding someone and hoping
not to end up alone.

The first single off the album, “If I Had Eyes,” isn’t as catchy
as “Flake” or “Taylor,” but makes use of a lead guitar atypical of
Johnson’s sound.

After 14 tracks with slight diversification of low and high
beats, the album ends with “Losing Keys,” which mixes Johnson’s
whiny vocals with offset high-pitched notes. The track picks up in
the middle with slightly quicker strums and beats, but wraps the
package up with a soothing ending.

It’s nice to be reminded of the relaxing feeling of slow-going
summer days, but not much else should be expected from Johnson’s
redundancy.

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