'Dream' A Little Dream
Dave Matthews may be the world's most unassuming rock star, but he's positively Axl Rose compared to Jack Johnson. With his T-shirt-and-sandals fashion sense and chilled-to-the-point-of-absurdity demeanor, the Hawaiian-born singer/songwriter could probably walk into Borders tomorrow, purchase 40 copies of his own CD and not get a second look from the counter girl.
But that could change when the 29-year-old Johnson drops his third disc, "In Between Dreams," this week via his own Brushfire imprint through Universal. "We toured a bit after the last record, and I take in a lot when I'm in different parts of the world. So when I got back home, I had time to gather my thoughts and get back to my normal life," Johnson says in a breezy voice with a twist of island accent. "That's the idea of the title: those adventures that I go on now, sometimes I feel like I dream them. All the tours and shows and press, it's a lot of fun, but it's a different reality."
"Dreams" dabbles in Johnson's usual themes: the sweetness of new love ("Better Together") and rainy afternoons spent indoors ("Banana Pancakes"). But that's not to say he's only interested in good-natured hippie-isms. "Sitting, Waiting, Wishing" serves as a kiss-off and probably features as much venom as Johnson can muster, while "Good People" fires several shots across the bow of TV nation underneath a fluttery little melody.
Johnson began spinning "Dreams" on the road, but, not surprisingly, finds most of his inspiration at home. "There was one bus ride -- a long one from Colorado up to Minneapolis -- and I wrote 'Never Know' during that," he says. "But in general I write on the front porch at my parents' house, the house I grew up in. It's got this view of a good surf spot called Pipeline, and you end up getting fixed there; the waves are so beautiful to watch."