Thursday, July 11th, 2013

Jack Johnson – I Got You

What we talk about when we talk about Jack Johnson (is John Mayer)…


Anthony Easton: John Mayer is snappish, bitter and negative. The tension between the soft vocals and the angry lyrics works to complicate the narrative, making it anti-sentimental. This has no tension, and instead of being low-key and pleasant, it just seems lazy. It’s why Jack Johnson isn’t John Mayer. Point off for the whistling.

Alfred Soto: Innocuous country rock. At least John Mayer records fraught, innocuous country rock.

Patrick St. Michel: There comes a time in every middle-class, Southern-California-raised person’s life where they have to confront the three-headed hydra of the region, a trio of musical acts that without doubt will appear in one’s early adolescence and serve as a junction. Do you embrace Red Hot Chili Peppers, 311 or Jack Johnson… or do you reject one or all of them? The latter seems out of place, seeing as how his music is all calm and he isn’t even from California. But he’s got a UC Santa Barbara degree and his song “Bubble Toes” was unavoidable during my teen years (and many others; I have folks backing me up on this from Orange County to Santa Clarita). “I Got You,” like all of his songs save for that one on the Curious George soundtrack, is the sound of being laid back, of wearing sandals to film class and making fun of the word “hella.” All those things, like Johnson’s music, are totally inoffensive… but also boring as heck. I’ve got nothing against “I Got You,” but it does make me feel good for not diving into his music. Minus one point for the time I had to listen to “Banana Pancakes” 25 times on a road trip, though.

Edward Okulicz: I would accept this if it were gently wafting through the windows of my beachside resort, but as an actual song, it’s really more a patched-together quilt of unfinished lyrical thoughts and a whistle.

Brad Shoup: Is Johnson nudging country, or has he been there for a while? He puts himself in the way of as many o and u sounds as possible, and he’s still working that pleasant campfire turnaround. I miss the strumming, though.

Will Adams: I warmed back up to Jack Johnson when he became The Guy You Book When Mumford & Sons Have a Serious Medical Complication. But there’s no getting around the music: like a dissertation on dentist offices.

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