‘On and On’ – Jack Johnson.
Music is like baking; it is a procedure of skill, artistic flare and discipline all undergone to produce a smoothly blended creation of structure, layers, and decorative elements that have been crafted into a single fluffy entity – I will also add that baking, like music, never produces the same product twice.
Welcome to the awesome ability of Jack Johnson in the album ‘On and On’. This album was Jack’s 2nd album and was released in 2003; and frankly I think that this album is all about what Jack is as a musician.
The beauty of Jack Johnson is that he sounds exactly as he is. I’m falling asleep as I’m listening to this album, but it’s just so fantastic; ‘musically-induced coma’ – the best kind.
The general feel of this album is fairly relaxed; not quite reggae (even though the album does incorporate quite a bit of that syncopated off-beat style commonly found in a lot of reggae), but more ‘lazy-acoustic’: ‘Rodeo Clowns’. Jack Johnson’s voice is like chocolate; smooth and tasty. His technicality on the guitar is like good Italian minestrone; makes for an interesting combination that is accompanied really well by an invariable deep flavour. His use of words and sounds combined is like finely chopped ginger; quite strong by its self, but when thrown in with other elements it becomes an integral part of a colourful tapestry.
The album is quite eclectic and bouncy as it has its quicker tempo’ed style songs like ‘Taylor’, and its more ‘hammock laying’ songs like ‘cocoon’. Jack Johnson is never annoying as there is always a place in your life for one of these songs!
‘On and On’ sums up what Jack is about; a little funky in places, tight, placid and fun; ‘Mediocre Bad Guys’. However, on the flipside, the beats on this album remain quite constant which can be a little tiresome at times (I think I counted three different tempos on the entire album). His progression doesn’t seem to be headed anywhere new either; everything remains quite stock-standard and predictable which I guess is good for those of you who are ‘meat and vege’ heads. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a lovely album; quite nice to listen to with a Daiquiri in your hand, but the progression is very predictable and keeping in mind that some musicians are creators and others are essentially ‘followers’, I would have to dub Jack Johnson as both. Please cook on… I think that Jack has a lot of potential to be quite magnificent in a melodically technical respect, but he seems to not explore those avenues on this album (which I think is quite a shame).
Jack Johnson created his own ‘genre’ if you will. I am disappointed that he has established this but not taken it to new heights. As always, his music is a pleasure to listen to, however I really do feel that there must be some differentiation between albums, otherwise the music becomes a slight adjustment of the same song over and over again. Add a little more ginger, remove some of the chunky pasta and add some noodles, and maybe throw in a little more stock.
For those of you discovering new music, I would definitely recommend this album! Jack has created his own, his precious. It’s not hard to listen to; in fact this music is healing power in musical form. However, if you are already familiar with Jack Johnson, do not expect anything unusual or different. If you like the consistency and stock standard of minestrone, then this album is for you! It’s lovely; it’s beautiful and even perfect! However the chemical complex remains that same.
Overall I would have to give this album THREE STARS for easy listening. Jack Johnson will always live up to your expectations, but never exceed.