Jack Johnson

To the Sea


3 star rating
© Financial Times

Jack Johnson, the Hawaiian surfer dude turned 18m album-selling recording star, made his fifth studio LP To the Sea using solar power. This bodes well for the environment, but it doesn’t bode so well for the listener.

The singer-songwriter’s last album Sleep Through the Static sounded like it was made by someone half-dozing on a beach, all bland mellowness and feel-good platitudes: a case of too much sun. Happily, To the Sea finds the solar powered Johnson rousing himself from beach bum torpor.

“You and Your Heart” thrums along with catchy riffs, the title track channels the king of Californian alt-pop Beck, and “Red Wine, Mistakes, Mythology” is an infectious, loping bluesy number. “My Little Girl” makes a sickly lurch back into adult-contemporary acoustic balladry, but matters are righted with the soulful surfer’s parable “Only the Ocean”.

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