May 18, 1975 - Jack Johnson is born.
Most of you probably know Jack Johnson as "That guy who sang that song. You know. With the acoustic guitar." And that would be correct. You see, Jack Johnson was born without an angry bone in his body. He came out of the womb, not crying like a normal human baby, but blinking in wide-eyed wonder, his tiny infant face scrunched up as if to convey the sentiment 'Man. This place is, like, totally cool'. This trend continued throughout most of his formative years. When his friends tried to perform science experiments on small animals using sticks, young Jack would phone PETA. When they sat down to play Risk®, he would refuse to roll the dice, believing that "We should all just get along". And this worked fine, as Jack, son of a surfer, went into the ranks of professional surferdom or whatever. But then things took a tragic turn. Jack, believing professional surfing was "Too competitive (I did not make this one up)", decided he was going to devote his life to playing music. And his unfortunate run of unearned chart success seems likely to limit the chances of him retiring from his new profession anytime soon.
Here's the thing. I'm not trying to claim that all bands need to be the Sex Pistols or scream at the audience in Spanish or whatever. But when you're mellow to the point that it could easily be assumed you're on an IV of pure Zoloft™, there's an issue. You see, rock and roll was originally a sort of protest music. Not protesting like being angry that Abercrombie raised the price on their khakis, like Jack's music is made for.
Perhaps you think I'm being unfair here. Fine. Let's do a lyrical comparison. Here are the first two lines of a song by the Silver Jews, a band whose singer and songwriter (David Berman) publishes books of poetry in his spare time: 'Where's the paper bag that holds the liquor? Just in case I feel the need to puke.' Let's compare this to one of Jack's lyrics, this one from the song "Better Together," the first track off his album In Between Dreams (Keep in mind while reading this that in rock and roll, an album is traditionally sequenced to lead off with a fast track to grab the listener's attention): "Love is the answer, at least for most of the questions in my heart." Jack, the poet just destroyed you in a competition of manliness. So please, listen up. I'm only going to offer this advice once: GROW A PAIR. Look here fruitcake, if I wanted to hear music extolling the same virtues of peace and love that Jesus put forth, I'd hang out in West Side Market and listen to Creed and Jars of Clay on an eternal, unholy loop. I don't do that. So what I would like is for you to never be on any stereo in my vicinity from now until the end of time. If you cannot do this, please mail me your guitar so that I may smash it into a million little pieces (Because we all know you won't do this). Insurance on the package will not be necesary. The choice is yours.