Jack Johnson’s newest album features mellow, laid-back sound


It’s no secret that Jack Johnson, Hawaii-based singer and songwriter, holds the title for mellow man of the decade, but his new album, “From Here to Now to You,” brings that persona to a whole new level.

Johnson’s sixth studio album, released Sept. 17, has since topped the Billboard Top 200 charts. Since its release, Johnson and his band have been touring worldwide in countries like Australia, New Zealand, and several cities in Europe, and are now finishing their U.S. tour covering several states. Unfortunately, Kansas was not one of those.

“From Here to Now to You,” contains a much more laid back porch-jamming sound than Johnson’s last two, more electric driven albums. Its sound combines the Hawaiian influence of Johnson’s second album, “On and On,” with the easy listening folk rock lyrical resonance of his third studio album, “In Between Dreams.”

Listening to the lyrics of his latest album, it’s easy to tell Johnson is enjoying the day-to-day life of a late thirties family man on the island of Hawaii. Many of the songs revolve around Johnson’s family life, including several love songs to his wife. There’s even a nighttime lullaby dedicated to his youngest daughter. On the fifth track, Johnson describes the creation of his first band in the upbeat, acoustic driven song, “Tape Deck.”

A Jack Johnson album just wouldn’t be the same without a song or two infused with his views on our impact on the environment. If you know anything about Johnson, you know that he’s very passionate about saving the environment. Since the early 2000s, Johnson has led the greening initiative in the music industry and has founded several non-profit organizations that focus on environmental education, buying locally grown foods and plastic reduction.

The andante-paced, fingerpicked 10th track on the album, “Ones and Zeros,” has a somewhat ambiguous message that seems to cover his thoughts on how our lives as consumers have an effect on our world.

Not all of Johnson’s songs from his latest album carry undertones of a higher social consciousness. Many are songs that highlight simple daily tasks or just hanging with the family.

“I just write about whatever it is that’s on my mind,” Johnson said in an interview in a Sept. 13 Associated Press article by Chris Talbott. “This record has been a lot of just sort of being in the family in just kind of my own little bubble. Dropping the kids off at school, and just day-to-day life, just washing the dishes, working in the garden, taking the trash out. That’s not necessarily what the songs are about, but that’s kind of where I was living, in that space.”

Overall, “From Here to Now to You” is a light-hearted album that captures the beauty of day-to-day life. Its rhythmic acoustic guitar-led, lyrical-driven sound feels almost like a throwback to earlier times in Johnson’s career. At the same time, Johnson weaves in thoughts that come from a decade of traveling, living and loving. Whether it’s your favorite or least favorite of his work, “From Here to Now to You” is a much welcomed addition the Jack Johnson discography.

Chase Fortune is a junior in journalism and mass communication. Please send all comments to edge@kstatecollegian.com.