Jack Johnson’s latest album Sleep Through the Static is an easy listen. The familiar combination of simple arrangements and a mellow singing style produce a hummable delight. The album’s lyrical content is a bit more socially and morally pointed than his past endeavors but any bitterness or anger is softened by a subtle, unimposing delivery.
Apparently turning 30 and having a couple of kids has motivated Johnson to share some of his fatherly wisdom. I first noticed this in his adaptation of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. Johnson wasn’t comfortable with how quickly Rudolph let the other reindeer off the hook when Santa found a use for him. Johnson sang:
“No Rudolph, he didn’t go for that; he said ‘I see through your silly games. How can you look me in the face when only yesterday you called me names?’ All of the other reindeers, man, they sure did feel ashamed: ‘Rudolph, you know we’re sorry, we’re truly going to try to change.'”
Similarly, in the standout, title track of Sleep Through the Static Johnson takes on war with a stream of consciousness flow before ironically singing: “Who needs keys when we’ve got clubs? Who needs please when we’ve got guns?” Also, in the liner notes Jack notes that the album was recorded using 100% solar energy, printed on 100% post-consumer waste recycled paper, and carrying the 1% For The Planet logo.
The album is not groundbreaking, nor adventurous but it is classic Jack and that is good enough for me.