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REVIEW: Jack Johnson's "From Here to Now to You" Is Really As Chill As It Gets

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Sep 19, 2013 05:03 PM EDT

Jack Johnson 'From Here to Now to You'(Photo : Brushfire Records)

The King of Chill, Jack Johnson is all about easy listening on his new album "From Here to Now To You." The album covers themes of everyday life over relaxing, gentle melodies and rhythms. His songs allude to reigniting love, being empathetic, encouraging childlike imagination and wonderment, and reflecting on life.

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Most songs on the album are played in an open B-flat tuning, which gives the 12-track album a cohesive sound from start to finish —save for the tenth track on the record, "Ones and Zeros," which changes up the pacing for a moment with progressive hammer-ons in a different open tuning.

"From Here to Now to You" is pretty much what you'd expect from Johnson, but being his sixth studio album, it is definitely the most comfortable album he's put out. You get the feeling that 38-year-old Hawaiian native is pretty content with his life right now — sweet, amusing children, a loving wife — so the super mellow vibe makes sense.

A particularly fun track on the effort is "Tape Deck." Johnson tells the story of his first band coming together. They wanted to sound like a punk band "in a world post-punk," but ended up sounding folk because they were all playing guitar. They made the executive decision to turn the least-seasoned guitarist into the drummer. What's cool about the song is that it sort of details what starting a band is like for young musicians from finding a place to practice, to deciding whose going to play what instrument, to performing at talent shows.

All in all, this album won't challenge Jack Johnson fans. It's a departure from the emotional, electric-driven material on "To the Sea" and "Sleep Through The Static," and it's also easy on the ears. But it doesn't seem like Johnson is really trying to push boundaries anyway. He's gone this far with a pretty solid formula — be a happy person, play happy music, make people feel happy. And you really can't hate on songs being pleasant if his is the type of music you enjoy.

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