Jack Johnson Album Review: In Between Dreams (2005)

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you In Between Dreams, the third album from Jack Johnson. Due to music being opinionated, I brought my cousin Robert on board with me to assist with the review.

In green is my opinion. I am familiar with Jack Johnson’s music and find it enjoyable.

In blue is my cousin Robert’s opinion. He knows Jack is from Hawaii, and he’s familiar with his album To the Sea, though he does not listen to his music.

Let’s start our track-by-track review.

Better Together

Oh hai Jack. Nice to meet you. Jack Johnson’s third album begins with a very relaxed track. The piano on Better Together adds a very playful touch to the easy rhythm of the song. This track lets the listener know that In Between Dreams is going to be a chill, relaxed collection of songs. Better Together is a great start to the album.

What a great song to start off the album. I love the guitar in this song, along with the bass groove that keeps you into the rhythm. Jack’s voice is pleasant to listen to.

Never Know

The guitar, drums, and vocals on this track mesh together to create a very thoughtful, forward-moving song. The guitar’s frequent tempo changes, keeping the song exciting and engaging. Jack Johnson’s lyrics are interesting, sung in an ironic way. Never Know is an intriguing, individual song that is sure to satisfy.

What a catchy song to listen to. I can just chill out and listen to it. This song reminds me of The Red Hot Chili Peppers, and that is always a good thing. Lyrically and musically, this song comes together. I can listen to it over and over without getting bored of it.

Banana Pancakes

I am glad Jack Johnson’s lazy ass created this song. Bring me my sliced coconuts. I require a beach chair and a pan. Yes, I will put a beach chair in my kitchen and make pancakes. Of course, this song will be playing on replay as I craft my flapjacks. Banana Pancakes is so good. It is the highlight of the album, and absolutely a highlight of Johnson’s discography. Banana Pancakes is a lazy song that knows what it is. I am very fond of Banana Pancakes.

I really do not understand why this song has this title, but it does showcase Jack’s voice and guitar playing.

Good People

While the chorus is clearly taking some inspiration from the well-known riff of the Joker from Steve Miller Band, which is a positive thing, Good People is great in its own right. Jack speaks some true words on this track. He clearly feels strongly about what we consider entertainment nowadays, and he channels his distaste through this song. Despite the bad feelings surrounding the song, Jack Johnson communicates an uplifting message through fluid, catchy music. Good People is a welcoming, friendly song that is easy to enjoy.

As you saw from my take on the previous song, I was lazy just like Jack is. But this song has more life to it, so there is more that I need to say. I could imagine this song in a movie, show, or commercial with no other sound in it. The lyrics match what is going on in today’s world. It seems like it is about how commercials always happen at the worst timing, which causes us to change the channel anytime they come on (my dad does this all time no matter what he is watching).

No Other Way

The beginning of this song makes me want to punch a wall. I hate it. There is no logical reason as to why I do, but my ears cannot tolerate the seven seconds of picking for whatever reason. The verses on this track are sung monotonously, almost carelessly, though the melodic chorus is smooth. No Other Way doesn’t have much going for it other than the chorus. It’s not a favorite of mine by any means.

If you were thinking this would be the album review where I do not write the word ‘mellow,’ you are wrong. This song is very mellow, as I can listen to it and forget about everything else in my life. It is such a good, laid back song that takes the stress out of your life, which is why I love it.

Sitting, Waiting, Wishing

I wonder what it’s like to argue with Jack. I really do. Rather than making a raw-sounding, loud song to express his pain, he makes a catchy radio single that is almost uplifting. Almost. Sitting, Waiting, Wishing is a fine little tune, quite literal, but nonetheless a decent song about waiting on love.

After reviewing an album chock full of songs about breakups (Chris Isaak’s Forever Blue), I get hit with another breakup song. This one, however, does not have that depressing, deep, or dark sound to it. This song is more harsh, as if the girl/guy got pierced in the heart with a lance. Even if you have never gone through a breakup, this song is a good listen.

Staple It Together

Rapunzel from Dave Matthews Band, anyone? Staple it Together is a groovy song that verges on reggae. The bass, guitar, and drums work together to create an edgier song that isn’t overbearing by any means (that bass-line though). This is an original, fresh song that is a satisfying addition to In Between Dreams. 

Well if there was any song you would play when stapling something together, it would be this one. I really like how clever the lyrics are, along with the great drumming. I wish I could play the drums because the drum beat is great, tying in with the guitar perfectly.

Situations

Here we have a song that is slightly over a minute long. Despite its short length, the lyrics ring true. Unfortunately, while I enjoy what’s there, it feels incomplete. It seems that these simple lines are the beginning of an incomplete song. If it’s not, then it really is a missed opportunity, as the concept of Situations along with the guitar-playing create a solid foundation. 

Here we go with a short song. That means I like it, right? Well you are correct. The lyrics are great, and while I wish this song was longer, it does not need to be to send the message straight. Just chill out and enjoy this song rather than some dumb commercial.

Crying Shame

Crying Shame is Staple it Together’s angry cousin. Just like its cousin, it has a prevalent reggae sound. It has some grit to it, however, as Jack’s vocals are pained. The manner with which the lyrics are sung enhances the preachy vibe that Crying Shame radiates. The music is funky as well. Overall, Crying Shame is a wholesome, complete song that has high replay value for good reason.

Crying Shame is just another feel-good song that makes you think about the good times you have had with your family or friends. The drum beat to this song is great, and it is a crying shame if you do not listen to this song and feel good.

If I Could

This song is surprisingly sad. Its short length is appropriate. If it were longer, it would likely have transformed into a bloated gush-fest, which isn’t necessary. If I Could is a simple, melancholy track that features some somber acoustics and personal lyrics. If I Could packs a punch despite its short duration.

I got hooked to this song the moment I heard the harmonica in the beginning. It is another great song, but it is also sad. I feel that this is the perfect song to listen to after a loved one passes away. It would make you and everyone else feel better.

Breakdown

Breakdown is a simple song that is given a tropical feel to it by the ukulele. Jack’s vocals are relaxed, his meaning is clear, and the little breakdown at the later end of the song is a nice change of pace. Overall it is a fine song, nothing groundbreaking. I sure don’t return to this album for Breakdown, however.

What I really love about this song is the message Jack is trying to give us. He is trying to tell us to slow down so we can enjoy everything life has to offer. It is such a wonderful song and by far one of Jack’s best.

Belle

The way Jack speaks Chinese here is engaging and educational. This song can be summed up in my cousin’s words. He says this is “Jack’s lady catcher.” That is all. 

Here’s another short song I love, of course. It sounds like there are waves in the background, which I take a liking to, but what really makes me love this track is the French sound along with the different languages that Jack sings. This is a short song I wish was longer, with some more French.

Do You Remember

The acoustics on this track are brilliant. A straight-up love song, Do You Remember is a song I could see teenage boys far and wide trying to learn to play for their girl. They would insert their own personal lyrics, and the guitar would do the rest. Not another instrument graces this track, so its feeling of completion is definitely impressive. Do You Remember is a solid song that is well put together and easy to enjoy.

What a really sweet song that is about sex and a relationship. This one could definitely make you happy with the person you are in love with.

Constellations

Constellations features some interesting acoustics and sums up what this album is: mellow. Constellations ends the album on a positive note. It isn’t the best song of the album, but it’s a solid closing song. 

The album ends with a beautiful, slow, and mellow sounding song in constellations. I can imagine myself listening to this song on the beach during the sunset, or at night with the moon and stars shining bright with my friends, family, or girlfriend. It is a beautiful song that makes your day perfect no matter how good or bad it is. Constellations is a perfect song to end the album, which all together is laid back and magical. It changes your life, and you do not know how or why it does. With that said, thank you for reading yet another album review. Stay tuned for more reviews by the cousin duo! (Please, do not take that name seriously. It is just me showing how my dad made me corny like him which I wish never happened. My DMB puns are just as bad. Just ask Juck).

My Top 3

Never Know

Banana Pancakes

Crying Shame

Rob’s Top 3

Constellations

Banana Pancakes (Lazy Like Me)

Good People

In Between Dreams is an album that showcases a blossoming Jack Johnson. He dabbles in various styles and variations of music, from reggae to love songs to lazy tunes. He gives us a simple, mellow collection of songs that are easy to enjoy and get a grasp on. Jack Johnson’s In Between Dreams is a T-Bone, and an enjoyable one at that. I recommend you give this album a listen.

~Juck

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2 comments on “Jack Johnson Album Review: In Between Dreams (2005)

  1. Very well put gentleman. T-Bone is certainly a fair grade and agree that this is a very enjoyable album. Keep up the great work!

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