Spin #53 : Jack Johnson : In Between Dreams
SUNDAY DROP - SPIN #53
You have somehow found yourself back here again for our 53rd Spin at
R'nR with Rylo and this week we have chosen 2005's 'In Between Dreams by Jack Johnson. As we sit here underneath the mango tree getting ready to listen along to this chilled record, I can't help but yawn as I am feeling pretty relaxed. Do you know that even talking about yawning can be contagious and you might find yourself yawning now as you read along. This record is very special to myself and my wife as the first track is actually our wedding song (Better Together) and everything seems to feel right in the world when we hear it. What album or song has that same effect on you when you hear it? (Let us know on our socials or in the comments section below).
I have decided to play this one in the front room again as it gives me a chance to colour in and build kit planes with my son. I found a pack of four planes, similar to what I used to buy from the newsagency as a child and thought it would be cool to build them together. He has fun, even if his colour choices give the planes very interesting designs. The Marshall Woburn II speaker and Audio Technica (AT-LP60XBT) turntable are ready to spin this one and that means its time to sit back, relax and turn the volume to the max!
Image : Jack Johnson
I remember the first time that I heard any music from Jack Johnson and that would have been probably in 2003 or 2004. I was with friends at Sandon Point watching the surfing tournament from the high vantage point above the rocks. It must have been the Quicksilver or Rip Curl Pro or something like that. They had such a relaxing vibe and soundtrack playing over the speakers between the heats that had everyone listening along. Johnson has such a distinct sound and straight away I love listening to the handful of songs that played from his first few albums. I guess at the time I was with a crowd of people who listened to John Butler Trio, Xavier Rudd, Colbie Caillat, Pete Murray, Angus and Julia Stone and Jason Mraz. I usually say that this kind of music is the kind that makes even your eyelids yawn (I mean that in the best way possible). Johnson's music left an imprint on me and when his album 'In Between Dreams' came out, it was a must buy on CD.
Many years after this I met my now wife and she also loved this album. Better yet, her favourite track was the lead off song called 'BETTER TOGETHER', which later became our wedding song. Now it isn't a track that you'd traditionally dance too for a wedding song but it's the words and feeling that it gives you. I remember that there weren't many copies available on LP at the time we met but when I did come across it whilst flipping through wax, I couldn't grab it fast enough. I like that our son always asks for music now and I think that it's cute when he asks to wear the binoculars (he means headphones). 'BETTER TOGETHER' has some lovely lyrics and my favourite would be, "Love is the answer at least for most of the questions in my heart. Why are we here? And where do we go? And how come it's so hard? It's not always easy and sometimes life can be deceiving. I'll tell you one thing. It's always better when we're together". Our daughter fell asleep in the car earlier today so we had to carry her ever so gently into her cot to keep sleeping. I'll show her this album countless times as she grows up and she has really shot up as of late, little string bean.
The album keeps flowing nicely along with second track called, 'NEVER KNOW'. I was reading up on this album and apparently scored 58 out of 100 on metacritic. I think personally that is harsh. What do you think as you read and listen along? I like the slowness of this song to bring you in and you feel like you have been transported to a little Tiki Hut on the North Shore of Hawaii instantly. I personally have never been but Night Kat Kiz has just before we met and loved it. She has a Ukulele that she purchased from that trip and sits just above our mirror in our bedroom. Hopefully one day either with the children or just the two of us, we get a chance to go together to Hawaii. Johnson knows exactly what he is doing with this album and he doesn't really need to push things on his third album. He gets criticised for doing the same album over and over but if you expect something different from him then you surely are not a fan. The other musicians on this album are Adam Topol on drums/percussion and Merlo Podlewski on bass.
Someone did mention that we would be making 'BANANA PANCAKES' on the weekend (Debbie, that would have been you and congratulations for the correct guess for MWSP. Sturms got it too but DM'd me). I like this up and down beat that has Johnson telling you that there "Can't you see that it's just raining. There ain't no need to go outside". Our children have started to push our buttons with perfect toddler mode being engaged, especially when it comes to dinner time. They are getting very fussy. One thing that I know they love eating is actually Banana pancakes, so the title of this song always makes me think of our little monkeys. Next track was quite a big hit from this album called 'GOOD PEOPLE'. It has Johnson asking the question of "Where'd all the good people go?". I find myself pondering that from time to time and then each and every week you guys lift our spirits by getting involved on our social pages. What is everyone's next concert that they have lined up? For us it is tough to plan, having such little ones, but we have Meg Mac in April which will be awesome. I'll have to make sure we have been sent the tickets as I can't remember.
The soft sounds of his acoustic guitar on 'NO OTHER WAY' make me want to sit on a bench under a big tree, watching as the waves roll on in. Watching our children play and laugh. They did play a game of Floor is Lava today and we had cushions absolutely everywhere down the hallway. If you haven't played lately I highly recommend becoming a little kid again and giving it a go. I like the lyrics in this song of, "Too much silence can be misleading. You're drifting I can hear it in the way that you're breathing. We don't really need to find reason, because out the same door that it came well it's leaving". Last track on Side A is the big hit called 'SITTING, WAITING, WISHING'. You can just tell that this was a huge song for Johnson and his career. It has great lyrics, catchy tune that builds and often find ourselves singing this one. The stylus comes to the dead wax at the centre of the record and automatically returns to its cradle. Time to flip LP over and play Side B of 'In Between Dreams'. What do you think so far? Would you add this one to your record collection or do you agree that it deserved a 58 out of 100 rating.
It has been so muggy lately at night and I can feel my shirt sticking to me as I type this. If I was in Hawaii, then fine I'd not complain but currently not loving the humidity and flies. As I place Side B on the turntable there is a picture of Johnson holding his guitar that isn't on the label of Side A. The sweet sounds of the funky surf rock track 'STAPLE IT TOGETHER' start playing. If you are trying to sing along then this track is as close to surf rap you'll get out of him. I remember going to Bunnings (Hammerbarn according to our son) a few months back and hunting for staples. It must have been around 7 or 8pm at night and I found what I was looking for pretty quickly and walked to the cashier. In the line there would have been three or four people all lined up buying staples. It was a Truman Show moment where everyone was only buying staples at that moment and the lady at the counter said, "Yes, I don't know if you know this but there is a National Shortage of staples in Australia". I told her that I didn't know that and this song title just reminded me of that.
'SITUATIONS' starts off with Johnson using a different vocal technique that sounds buried underneath his guitars. Not bad at all, just different to every track that has proceeded this. It's a short little interlude style track and before you know it, the sounds of 'CRYING SHAME' are playing through the Marshall Woburn II speaker. This track was also a pretty big song off the album and I like the lyrics of "Buy now and save, it's a war for peace. It's the same old game but do we really want to play? We could close our eyes its still there. We could say it's us against them, we could try but nobody wins". Still feeling like I am on the shores of Hawaii and hoping that a nice cool breeze starts rolling through the window any minute. The drums are more prominent on this one and I really enjoyed it.
Another short interlude track that feels fitting on the album called 'IF I COULD' starts playing next. In 2005, when this came out I was in year 11 at High School and prepping for that next stage of life. Still unsure exactly what I would be doing or where I would be. To think that just five years after its release I could say that I'd found my love, who likes this album just as much as I do, I would have said you were crazy. The relaxing hit of 'BREAKDOWN' comes through the speaker next and was once again played everywhere at the time. Show me a surf carnival or movie that doesn't have a Jack Johnson song in it (obviously from 2003 onwards).
Third interlude track on Side B is the French influenced tune of 'BELLE'. For those saying that he needed to mix things up and do something different, well how much more do you want! The guy is now singing French with his Hawaiian influences. It reminds me a lot of the artist Seu Jorge and his covers of David Bowie for 'The Life Aquatic' movie soundtrack. If you haven't heard of him or seen this movie, it is worth checking out even for the soundtrack alone. 'DO YOU REMEMBER' is probably the biggest track on Side B and one that makes you instantly ponder things and look into your memories. Good times and bad, all come to mind. I think my favourite lyrics of this one are, "I guess that I was afraid that if you rolled away you might not roll back my direction real soon. I was crazy about you then and now the craziest thing of all is over ten years have gone by and you're still mine, we're locked in time". It truly is a lovely song and now we find ourselves at the last song on 'In Between Dreams', that being the sounds of 'CONSTELLATIONS'. I forgot that this song was on the album but not because it is a bad track. I think that it was picked as the album closer because it brings you back to that chilled feeling, leaving you grounded and content.
If you have fallen asleep because you became too relaxed, then that is ok. It's time to slowly wake up and pack up the picnic rug and keep enjoying your weekend. Thanks you for taking time out this Sunday and enjoying our 53rd Spin - 'In Between Dreams' by Jack Johnson. I hope that you enjoyed this one and add it to your collection as I feel it is highly underrated. If you get a chance then why not whip up a batch of Banana Pancakes too. Something coming next weekend that is a bit heavier than this record so keep your eyes out for our MWSP.
Until our next Spin, be Kind to people who like mellow surf rock and be Kind to your Wax!
MARIO CALDATO JR.
SPEED PLAYED AT
ON AND ON (2003)
SING-A-LONGS AND LULLABIES (2006)
COCO - COLBIE CAILLAT (2007)
RATING OUT OF 5
WHAT'S INSIDE THE RECORD SLEEVE
1 X BLACK LP, GATE FOLD JACKET WITH LYRICS PRINTED, PAPER/POLY BAG SLIP FOR LP.
"Love is the answer, at least for most of the questions in my heart. Like why are we here? And where do we go? And how come it's so hard? It's not always easy and sometimes life can be deceiving. I'll tell you one thing, it's always better when we're together" ~ Better Together - Side A
LP / SIDE
NO OTHER WAY
SITTING, WAITING, WISHING
LP / SIDE
STAPLE IT TOGETHER
IF I COULD
DO YOIU REMEMBER
Jack Johnson performing live