Brushfire Fairytales

Jack Johnson

Enjoy, 2001

REVIEW BY: Elizabeth Crowder


As far as music goes, I make a point to only listen to songs which represent who I am instead of who I want to be. Simple, classic melodies are what I long for, peacefully lulling me into a false sense of security in the musical land I find myself immersed in. Music is an escape from life, giving one the chance for closure or resolution or, at least, a break from life.

This is why Brushfire Fairytales, the debut album from Jack Johnson, is such a huge piece of my personal music library. Through the soothing yet eclectic lyrics, one gets a feel for the relief which I feel music needs to be. This is music made for a road trip (or at least a day where you are dancing in your house while cleaning.... not that I would do such a thing...), giving the world a variety of styles while staying true to Johnson's love of acoustic rock. my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Highlights include "Inaudible Melodies," beginning with a rhythm which is slightly off yet pleasing. In a way, the first track is a Shakespearean sonnet at the beginning of a musical play, the thesis statement to this term paper that is Brushfire Fairytales. Johnson tells us "Slow down everyone, you're movin' too fast," setting a precedent for the entire album. A surfer from Hawaii, this easy going mentality is a lifestyle as opposed to a false pretense, shown also in "F-Stop Blues" and "It's All Understood."

Something about this entire CD feels different, raw, imperfect in its essages. I sense the feeling behind songs -- slight disappointment in "Sexy Plexi," a pro/con debate about a "Flake" and heartache in "Losing Hope." Peppy melodies hide the hurt, much like a cardboard smile masks a bad day. By giving the music a lighter mood Johnson is able to stay positive, even though he is mourning loss in "Mudfootball (for Moe Lerner)," written for a friend of the family who passed away in 2000.

I love Jack's creative addition of Tommy Jordan (steel drums) and his mentor Ben Harper (slide guitar) on "Flake," as well as the catchy feel of this entire CD. Add to this the seemingly innocent vocal/guitar/piano/percussion/bass backgrounds and it is obvious why this album proves rock/folk can overcome the emo revolution of the new millenium.

Jack Johnson has continued to provide excellent music, and his debut of Brushfire Fairytales got his career off to an amazing start.

Rating: A-

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© 2007 Elizabeth Crowder and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Enjoy, and is used for informational purposes only.