2.05.2008

Music Review: Jack Johnson's Sleep Through The Static

by Vincent Lee

In the past few years, Jack Johnson has attracted a rather large fan base. This easily could be attributed to the mellow and catchy nature of his songs. Despite this, none of his first three albums were regarded as anything special. They weren’t exactly bad albums, but none of their songs ever stood out. That theme, for the most part, continues on his latest album Sleep Through The Static (which nevertheless already tops Amazon's hot new releases chart).

It would be unfair to say that Sleep Through The Static is a rehash of his first few albums. On some levels, Johnson does progress on this new album. Gone are the “Making Banana Pancakes” and other nonsensical joke songs. Johnson even finds himself delving into some darker and deeper topics. Nonetheless, these progressions are not extremely notable, and it is difficult to determine whether Johnson has accomplished anything truly special or unique on this album. One might say it is more of the same — only in a different package.

For some, however, more of the same would not be the worst thing in the world. Johnson has used his acoustic wit to produce a few good tunes. “Better Together” is one example. The use of his acoustic talent is still present on this album. The first track, “All At Once,” is probably the best. On this track and others, Johnson throws in some soft keyboard on the arrangement, which offers a nice delicate touch. Yet, by the end of the 14 songs, one may find trouble differentiating between one track from the next.

All of that said, mainstay fans of Johnson will most likely be as delighted with this album as with his previous releases, if not more so. However, it is doubtful Sleep Through The Static will draw in any new fans. To put it plainly, Sleep Through The Static is an average pop album by an average artist. It will undoubtedly satisfy many, but lacks the depth and consideration that pushes some artists away from mediocrity and toward excellence.

(Promotional photo of Jack Johnson from Brushfire Records. To see the video for Jack Johnson's hit single "If I Had Eyes" from Sleep Through The Static, please check below.)







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