I just bought Jack Johnson’s new single, “You and Your Heart”, and I wanted to post a few quick thoughts:
- LOVE the upbeat rhythm guitar intro! Jack’s writes some sweet song intros, and this one may just be one of his best.
- Very radio-friendly. Most of his singles are. Deeper cuts are sure to come on the album, which drops on June 1.
- I’m over-generalizing here, but Jack’s music can be roughly classified into three categories: Soundtrack/instrumental (his early stuff- think September Sessions or the Curious George soundtrack); Beach tunes (most everything prior to Sleep Through the Static); and the piano-driven ALO sound. “You and Your Heart” fits squarely in this third category.
TANGENT: The third category merits some explaining- A very distinct change in Jack’s sound occurred when he added long-time pal and vocalist for ALO (Animal Liberation Orchestra), Zach Gill, to the band, and heavily incorporated Gill’s school-choral-room piano style into his subsequent work.
The transition is best evidenced in Jack’s 2005 album, In Between Dreams. This album, in my opinion, was the perfect juxtaposition of all three of the categories I mentioned above (and it’s consequently my favorite album).
NESTED TANGENT: While I consider myself something of an early days purist (most of my favorite Jack Johnson tunes come from his early soundtracks), the addition of Gill was a welcomed and natural evolution, which added an amazing dimension to the band’s sound. If you’ve never experienced ALO, I’d strongly recommend checking them out.
But back to the quick thoughts on the newly-released single…
- I dig the dubbed self-harmony effect. I’m sure there’s a more official term for that, but I don’t have time to Google. This is something that has always worked for Jack, and it works great here.
BOTTOM LINE: “You and Your Heart” is a rich, rolling track. If it’s representative of the rest of the album, To the Sea will be a gem.
Listen to the whole track here. It’s available on iTunes now. The album will be released on June 1.
See previous posts about Jack Johnson here.
April 16, 2010 at 4:15 pm
i’m with you on the hairdo, I thought he was bald.
April 19, 2010 at 3:28 pm
Yeah, he used to shave his head.
May 10, 2010 at 4:47 am
Hey I am a big fan of Jack’s music as well. I’m loving his new single too. I’m currently writing a research paper on his music and his way of life. Do you find interest in his deeper meanings presented in his lyrics, or do you listen out of sheer joy of his catchy tunes? Do you agree with his views on making the world a safer greener place?
I’d appreciate your opinion.
May 11, 2010 at 7:11 pm
Angela, There are a few reasons I’m a JJ fan, and you’ve pretty much nailed them. The first JJ song I ever heard was “Taylor.” The catchy guitar licks and the way Jack’s voice blended with them had me hooked immediately.
What fascinates me about Jack’s deeper meanings is the fact that he explores serious– even dark topics via playful beach tunes. Musically, “Taylor” sounds like a surf jam, but lyrically it’s a sad song about wasted lives.
About the green thing– I admire his intent and I consider his environmental efforts exemplary, but I’m not a fan of his higher-level political viewpoints. In fact, they make blood shoot out of my eyes.
June 14, 2010 at 2:00 am
you mention his political viewpoints, what exactly are his political viewpoints? at first i could have sworn he was conservative but when listening to sleep through the static im not sure. Thanks
June 14, 2010 at 4:05 pm
Erik, Jack officially endorsed Obama during the ’08 campaign. That’s not to say, though, that we can glean all of his political views from that endorsement, but I think it’s safe to say he’s on the liberal end of the spectrum.
The thing I used to love about Jack is that while he takes some aspects of politics very seriously, his allusions to it in his work were subtle, not forceful. I once read an interview where he admitted not knowing a lot about politics and issues– which was why he shied from activism on non-environmental fronts.
Clearly his modus operendi changed with Sleep Thru the Static and his endorsement of Obama. Thankfully, politics are mostly absent from his latest album, To the Sea, which I plan to review here in the near future.