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Jack Johnson – In Between Dreams

Listening to Jack Johnson is like living in Hilton Head, South Carolina. It’s sunny, bright, inoffensive, sandy and bland.

But in between the barefoot-surfer love songs about mango trees and banana pancakes, on In Between Dreams Johnson actually tries for some social commentary, and not just via the “1% for the planet” sticker on the album cover.


There are no stylistic departures on this album–it’s still mellow acoustic singer-songwriter stuff from the Hawaiian singer-surfer-filmmaker–but he’s ever so subtly taking on the current status quo. “Wrong and resolute but in the mood to obey/ Station to station desensitizing the nation,” he sings on “Good People,” which still asks the banal chorus question, “Where’d all the good people go?”

Am I wrong for just wanting Johnson to get good and mad once? He comes closest here on “Crying Shame,” but Johnson’s world is still a nice place to visit, where banana pancakes are never far away and lovely lazy melodies for beach days take precedence when all’s said and done.

So, is it good? Sure. Johnson’s a decent guitarist with a soothing voice, a gift for songwriting and a style that suits him. It just gets quite old, and quickly—it becomes the same sound over and over with little variation. No theatrics, no drama, and ultimately, it feels like there’s no passion either.


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