Jack Johnson
Sleep Through the Static


3.5
great

Review

by FriendofTheDevil70 USER (14 Reviews)
February 9th, 2008 | 24 replies


Release Date: 2008 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The hype about this album was misleading, but this is still a signature Jack Johnson album.

Even before it was released, “Sleep Through The Static” was going to be a defining album for Jack Johnson. Sure, of course we all enjoyed songs like “Banana Pancakes”, the carefree acoustic guitar slaps, feel good lyrics, and chilled out sound seemed to suit Johnson and his music perfectly. But as all of us know too well, artists tend to vary their sound every couple albums or so. Johnson appeared to be doing this as well, for while it was still in the works “Sleep Through The Static”, was touted as a more electric album. However, as you will soon find out, this statement is quite misleading, and not really a true representation of what this album is. Yes, Johnson did vary the sound on this release, but it isn’t in a way most people would expect.

The variation of Johnson’s new sound is exemplified perfectly on the opening track “All At Once”. It opens with a breezy clean electric guitar, with added drums and organ licks coming in later in the song. Jack keeps his signature voice, singing some typical lyrics that it seems we’ve all heard from him before. Even the by the end of this first track, the listener picks up on what Johnson is going to do with this record. Keep the signature vocals and lyrics, but put the same chilled out rhythms in a more electric environment. At first thought, it doesn’t seem like such an inventive idea, but as you continue through the album, you realize that this method is actually quite effective. The next two tracks “Sleep Through The Static”, and “Hope”, instrumentally both sound very akin to ska, heavily favoring the upbeats which gives a whole new feel to Jack’s music.

That isn’t to say that this album is without the signature acoustic guitar sound. “Angel” and “Enemy” are two beautiful acoustic tracks that would have fit well on any of Jack’s previous efforts. But even these acoustic numbers are varied slightly. Gone are the acoustic slaps, and the general quirkiness of Jack’s many previous acoustic efforts. In a way, they sound more traditional, less inventive or unpredictable. They don’t really blend in with the rest of the album very well, but “Angel” is a nice, catchy, simple love song, a style of acoustic songwriting Jack has perfected better than just about anyone else.

The rest of the album fairs well into Jack’s new themes. “If I had Eyes” keeps the electric ska sound alive on the record with some nice vocals as well. “What You Thought You Needed” sports some ukulele playing midway through, and some precise, rhythmic drumming. There is a fair share of mediocrity to be found unfortunately. “They Do They Don’t”, “Adrift”, and “Same Girl” are merely songs Jack seems to have rewritten again and again, only with changed instrumentals. The album would have been a lot stronger had these not been included, taking a “less is more” kind of approach.

Thankfully, the album is saved by two closing numbers “Monsoon”, and “Losing Keys”. Both tracks have swift, beautiful clean electric guitar sounds, with a bit of tremolo added. Midway through, “Monsoon’s” mood changes into a mid tempoed, swing kind of feel, keeping the pace fresh and inventive. “Losing Keys” is the perfect album closer, in a chilled out, typical Jack Johnson way.
While the hype about “Sleep Through The Static” may have been misleading, this is nonetheless a very good effort from everyone’s favorite chilled out singer songwriter. There is still a great deal of inventiveness going around here, but its most likely in a very different way than everyone expected. If you’re expecting Jack Johnson to start busting out some guitar solos with this one then you’re going to be disappointed. If you just want another chilled out, but slightly more original Jack Johnson album to add to your collection, then this album will fit your order perfectly.



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user ratings (263)
3.2
good

Comments:Add a Comment 
FriendofTheDevil70
February 10th 2008


388 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I haven't done a review for a while. I said this before, but I'm going to try to start pumping out more.



I liked this album. Not an AOTY canidate or anything, a nice, typical, chilled out listen. Its a new release to, so hopefully that will generate more comments then I usually get for my reviews. Feedback is appreciated as always.

timbo8
February 10th 2008


628 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Good review. I was thinking of reviewing this and I still might, but you pretty much mirrored what I thought of the album. The first few times I listened through I wasn't impressed, but I'm warming up to it and now I think it'll end up as another fine album in his collection. I'm especially loving "Hope" and "Monsoon."

El_Goodo
February 10th 2008


1013 Comments


Johnson vary his sound? As likely as AC/DC changing theirs... I liked Johnson a lot when I first heard him...but over time he gets boring...he's a good songwriter, great musician, but he sounds like he's writing the same song over and over.

dub sean
February 10th 2008


1005 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

I will be writing my own review for this soon.

FriendofTheDevil70
February 10th 2008


388 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

El Goodo-



I hear what your saying, I honestly don't think Jack is too original either. But for what he does, he does it almost perfectly. And yes, you can hear the small changes in song to song, which is what he did here. He basically added more drums/keyboards to his music, but it does sound different, because of how reserved (but still good) his music was before.

dub sean
February 10th 2008


1005 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

basically, when he said there was going to be a lot more electric guitar on the album, he meant a lot a CLEAN electric guitar.

Doppelganger
February 11th 2008


3124 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I need this

Zorg
February 11th 2008


412 Comments


Another shitty Jack Johnson album. Not shocked.

dub sean
February 11th 2008


1005 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

how can you say that's shitty?

AggravatedYeti
February 12th 2008


7683 Comments


Cool, well written, kinda want to check it out still.

Flyboy
February 12th 2008


395 Comments


Yeah great review. I bought the album and I think its good. Give it a few listens. Its a good album, though not as memorable as his previous albums.

Geedrummer
February 12th 2008


607 Comments


im gonna check this out. i kinda agree with el_gooda. i can enjoy JJ in small doses.

brandaao
February 13th 2008


163 Comments


Really good album...i liked the review a lot

It's more of the same...but songs like these are always welcome.

It'll be my soundtrack for driving to college this first semester!

Doppelganger
February 15th 2008


3124 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Jack Johnson does no wrong. This album is pretty great.

kattunlover69
February 15th 2008


1194 Comments


4 more comments doppelganger

riobravo1023
February 17th 2008


274 Comments


I heard the single at work and I loved it, and I really can't imagine this album being bad.

donfrank
February 17th 2008


1 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

some of you are so hard to please. when an artist changes their sound, you complain because they dont sound like that original artist you know of anymore and you complain when they keep their sound the same. who cares? if it sounds good, just be happy with it.



Obviously you'll find this album boring if you're not in the mood, but Im listening to this album now and I like this album. Good work jack!

deleteriousenigma
February 20th 2008


14 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

not a huge fan of this album, no real climax in the album, just a few bumps on an otherwise dead straight line.

dub sean
March 9th 2008


1005 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

I've been, losing lots of keys lately, I don't, know what that means, but maybe...

beau99
June 20th 2008


62 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Another shitty Jack Johnson album.




There is no such thing.



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