Jack Johnson, All the Light Above It Too | Album Review
Jack Johnson delivers a well-rounded affair with ‘All the Light Above It Too.’ He does a great job of balancing stripped and more electric moments.
Jack Johnson is one chill bro. Arguably, he’s too chill at times. Nonetheless, he’s consistent, and, he has a fantastic, cool voice. Throughout the course of his latest album, All the Light Above It Too, he bestows the listener with his good vibes once more. As in the past, sometimes Johnson is too cool. However, on All the Light Above It Too, he has some moments that are more assertive without compromising his artistry or style. It’s kind of cool.
“Subplots” provides a spirited, yet simplistic and poised start to All the Light Above It Too. It features solid production work that’s never over- nor under-produced. The production makes excellent use of acoustic and electric guitars in particular. Ultimately, a standout, “Subplots” is well-written, featuring fitting chill, mellow, and poised vocals by Johnson.
On “You Can’t Control It,” the clarity of the sound is a selling point. The production remains uncluttered, simple, and spotless. Even if this is minimal in quality, the driving groove gives it some energy. The light, airy sounds and vibes are pleasant to the nth degree, without delivering knockout punch. The chorus is a definite highlight. Standout “Sunsets for Somebody Else” packs more punch than “You Can’t Control It.” The chief accompaniment is acoustic guitar. This is another pleasant, unobjectionable song from Johnson. It’s sort of vanilla, yet it’s not blasé.
“My Mind is For Sale”
On “My Mind is For Sale,” production is heavier. Even so, Johnson never seems to get bothered with the stresses of life. Once again, he’s even keel here. He tackles politics, but he doesn’t exhibit a particularly angry tone. From the start, he paints a picture of every progressive musician’s enemy – President Donald Trump. Throughout “My Mind is For Sale,” Johnson characterizes Trump as well as the fallout from his presidency. Ultimately, this is one of the most chill, yet thrilling tracks he’s ever recorded on his hands.
“Daybreaks” simplifies things once more, following the tropical grooves of “My Mind is for Sale.” Furthermore, the political tone fades as well, with Johnson focusing on love. “Big Sur” is quicker, and easily groovier than “Daybreaks.” Like “My Mind for Sale,” there tropical, world music influences are inescapable and infectious. Johnson remains cool, calm, and collected, but there’s a charm about his vocals. Even though Jack never asserts himself in an aggressive manner, his personality wins you over, despite his subtlety.
“Love Song #16”
Predictably, “Love Song #16” strips things down, offering the most minimal number from All the Light Above It Too. Even though it’s trends ultra-conservatively, Johnson continues to serve up the charm and respectable vocals. “Is One Moon Enough?” picks things up, incorporating more production work – a more full-bodied sound. Even so, Johnson isn’t particularly transcendent or game changing here. Nonetheless, it’s nice to hear more.
On “Gather,” the groove goes hard – can you say poppin’? The sounds of the islands are alive and well, while Johnson maintains his unbothered, cool persona. Everything feels natural and right. There’s a soulfulness that’s not forced, and all in all, the pleasantries continue. “Fragments,” from the Film The Smog of the Sea, concludes respectably. While it’s not a standout, it also doesn’t fall flat in the least.
All in all, Jack Johnson delivers a well-rounded affair with All the Light Above It Too. He’s a minimalist artist, but for the most part, he does a great job of balancing stripped and more ‘electric’ moments. No, Johnson is not an artist known for loud dynamics, but contextually, he gets ‘into it’ at times.
Gems: “Subplots,” “Sunsets for Somebody Else,” “My Mind is For Sale,” “Big Sur,” & “Gather”