Ever-present in the twenty-first-century acoustic zeitgeist - but is he stuck there?
Harrison Smith
12:13 27th June 2022

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With his ninth studio album, Meet The Moonlight, Jack Johnson returns with a collection of vibrant tunes, laid-back guitars, and summery vibes. Johnson, whose music has seemed ever-present in the twenty-first-century acoustic zeitgeist, takes us on a stroll through breezy romance, late nights, and other pleasant subject matters.

Johnson has said of the album's night-dwelling themes, feeling particularly mystical this time around, 'Whenever I walk outside at night and look up at the stars, it's always a way to be present instead of worrying about the future or dwelling on the past." The title track certainly presents itself as so. Finding a hypnotic bliss in the mystery of the evening. In a mellow manner, the record opens with 'Open Mind'. Lyrically waxing lyrical about the hardships of stifling emotions' open up the windows / there's a storm inside,' Johnson urges us to live without such restrictions. The sultry tone of '3AM Radio' paints a sleepy picture of a nighttime drive fuelled by music and contemplation. Previously conflicted by a relationship, Johnson now feels at peace with it following its natural course.' I wanted you to change / but I changed my mind instead' He finds the profound beauty in simplicity and catchiness, just one of the factors that have made him and his music so memorable. The lyrics of the charming "Calm Down" parade his skills for embodying a genuine love-conquers-all attitude towards life. 'this world it won't calm down / come over here and let's calm down' 

'One Step Ahead' features Johnson's most pleasing melodies since his acclaimed 2005 album 'In Between Dreams', responsible for the acoustic standards Banana Pancakes & Better Together. The gentle character of 'Don't Look Now' offers a myriad of soothing sonic vibes whilst battling with a bounty of conflicting romantic emotions. 'somehow we got shook up / good luck, baby / we're only animals in love' 

Despite its welcoming and optimistic nature, there is a tendency in the record to play it safe. Although having two Grammys to his name, John finds real experimentation a foreign concept. Fragments of the second half of the album are sluggish. With such an ear for melody and noteworthy pop, one longs for him to try his hand at something wildly different. Still, until then, most of Meet The Moonlight is charmingly sweet. Ticking the boxes of what has made previous Jack Johnson albums sell, it achieves what it sets out to do and will please fans seeking the comfort of dreamy Hawaiin life. 

Meet The Moonlight is out now.

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Photo: Press