When I first learned to surf, somebody once commented to me that "it must give you plenty of time to think". While that seems like a congenial pleasantry that might be appropriate, to me it struck me as a pretty odd statement. In reality nothing could be further from the truth. Surfing brings a calmness of mind that comes through connecting with the present. What you are doing at any given moment is all you concern yourself with. There's simply no time for living outside of the instant you're in.
Cultivating such a frame of mind leads you to appreciate truly beautiful things. And Jack Johnson's latest CD, In Between Dreams (Brushfire Records) captures this beauty with plenty to spare. Jack is a former pro surfer and moviemaker who grew up surfing pipeline in Oahu, Hawaii. He tends to write music in his head while he's out surfing. Like he says, "There's a lot of songs out there"
The collection Jack brings together on this record vary from more upbeat grooves (Staple it Together, Good People) through to real love songs that somehow don't make you puke. (Do You Remember, Banana Pancakes). Jack has a real gift for creating lyrics that seem to fit perectly around melodies, and being disarmingly honest. In a world full of so much horribly dishonest posturing music, corporate rock, and manufactured sincerity, It's hard not to appreciate it.
Sparsely acoustic, with a natural elemental vibe at it's core, the interplay of melody and keenly crafted lyrics cultivate harmony, within and without. If you've ever felt tingly with joy from a long lopey summer sunset, or marvelled at the beauty of an ocean wave, or lusted after crazy nostalgic longings wrapped up in modern life - those are the elements you'll recall from these songs.
If you like lots of tragedy, drama, angst, urbane sophistication, or abstract weirdness in your music, you might not appreciate this album.
But to me it feels like music the way humans would make it.
Another enlightened album from an obviously enlightened human.