Music This Week

Too bad Jack Johnson’s To The Sea released too late in India to be enjoyed by the sea.

Written by Pooja Pillai | Published: August 14, 2010 12:31:44 am

To the Sea

Jack Johnson

Brushfire Records

Rs 399,rating: ***

Too bad Jack Johnson’s To The Sea released too late in India to be enjoyed by the sea. The upbeat guitar,the lilting melodies and Johnson’s gentle vocals make you wish you were on a sunny beach,reading the latest Jodi Picoult and sipping on a chilled margarita under a wide parasol. Johnson is the guy in the Hawaiian shirt and Bermuda shorts,beads around his neck,gently strumming the ukulele and lulling you into another world.

There are no musical or lyrical complexities in To The Sea,but plenty of personal touches. It’s inspired — like most of his previous works — by his hometown Oahu in Hawaii. The album is dedicated to his father,famed surfer Jeff Johnson; the title track is a father’s gentle lament to his grown-up son whom he can no longer shield from the world and its harshness: “You better bring your bucket/ We’ve got dreams to drain/I’ll be at the bottom/I’ve been right here waiting so long.”

Soft rock is not the easiest of genres; if not done right,it can turn into mere elevator music,to be played in the background while you focus on more important things. Johnson holds your attention because of his surfer-meets-Woodstock-hippie style,which weaves personal stories with melodious,if laidback,guitar work. His delivery may be insubstantial but he can make an impact,if he chooses to. And that is the problem — Johnson rarely chooses to make an impact in this album. The only edgy song is You and Your Heart,a call to a pessimist to stop hating the world so much. The rest,especially My Little Girl,are stylistically too plain and border on the boring.

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