All this time, and I never stopped loving Jack Johnson.
As my tastes grew spicier, and my friends more musically “selective,” never did I ever stop loving the warm blasts of heat that radiate from Johnson’s voice or the strummy, strummy style of his guitar – the way it sways back and forth like palm trees on a calm day.
I forgot about him, sure, but the love never went away.
I forgot about the Banana Pancakes and the Bubble Toes. I forgot about the days I spent downloading Jack Johnson on a dial-up connection, waiting an hour for each three-minute morsel. I forgot about how easy life used to be – waking up at noon on the weekends after gossip sessions in a friend’s basement, football games followed by late night Denny’s milkshakes.
I went to college, I kept listening to Jack Johnson. I worried about boys liking me. I worried about getting good grades. I worried about finding my way to the Jack Johnson concert at Blossom without getting lost.
Suddenly, life started changing. I got over the acoustic-music part of my life. Gone were the days of Mason Jennings and early John Mayer and Ben Harper. Life was growing more complex, and the music I listened to mostly reflected that. The contemplative lyrics of the National, the complex musical structures of John Vanderslice. Worries shifted – would I get a job after college? What was I doing with my life? Did I like the person I was becoming?
Life got so complicated.
So this morning, as I was driving to work listening to the new soundtrack to 180 Degrees South: Conquerors of the Useless, an album that compiles James Mercer (the Shins), Mason Jennings, and - of course - Jack Johnson, I just had to stop and breathe for a second. Johnson’s “Spring Wind” kinda knocked me down in its quiet simplicity. Sometimes there is a beauty in life so uncomplicated, so pure, and it hides there among the folds and folds of worry and stress. And you have to remember that life needs a good Jack Johnson song every now and then.
I want to remember the things I’ve loved, and not just for nostalgia’s sake. I want to openly embrace this new Jack Johnson song. It’s not an advance for mankind, nor does it challenge me in any way. But it stands as a reminder that life is pretty good, when you throw some of the crap aside. So I’ll revel in the strum of Johnson’s guitar and the kindling warmth of his vocals once again. I’ll remember I love it.
Jack Johnson - Spring Wind
Photo by Elle Nicolai