As I was listening to Jack Johnson’s album To The Sea (2010), I was struck by a strange need to don a straw hat and dungarees, and start reading The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.
The music is laid-back and easy-going in a modern-folk-soft-rock kinda-way. And I’m sure it would feel extremely constrained by any sniff of a sentence with five hyphens in it.
So it was extremely gratifying to read in JJ’s Wiki entry that he is ‘an American folk rock singer-songwriter, surfer and musician known for his work in the soft rock and acoustic genres’.
So am I really right to link JJ and HF? Here’s my classic image of the latter taken from the 1884 edition of the book and courtesty of Wiki:
Life seems so simple, doesn’t it! And on the surface, the lilting, soft rhythms on To The Sea invite you to ease back, put your feet up and have a snooze.
But, hang on… Behind those apparently groovy hand claps and chipy piano riffs, we get lyrics like these:Now everybody’s in the play At least that’s what the script told me to say I’d say, shadows cut across the hero’s face He falls from grace until a little bird sang The truth is never ending We’re just here pretending Let’s all laugh so that we don’t cry Let’s all lift our glasses up to the sky for some Red wine, mistakes, apologies
And it’s all just red wine, headaches, mythology
Turns out, JJ doesn’t want us to chill out to this music after all. And rightly so – it deserves a bit more effort than that. Tracks such as Only the Ocean, Better Together and No Good With Faces are particularly worth a play. No way could I listen both to this and concentrate on reading A Great American Novel. Raft or no Raft.
*Adventures of Huckleberry Finn – Mark Twain