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The Voyager

The Student News Site of Guilford High School

The Voyager

The Student News Site of Guilford High School

The Voyager

Brush-fire Fairytales, the album that sparked Jack Johnson

Brush-fire Fairytales, the album that sparked Jack Johnson

   Brushfire Fairytales was released on February 1st, 2001, with 13 songs spanning 45 minutes and 53 seconds. The album is deep and digs into the heart and true meaning of life. Everyone interprets experiences in life differently, and this album expounds on that idea profusely.

   23 years later, the album still bears some of Jack’s more profound and fan favorite songs. These tunes still hold their strong, deep meanings and groovy melodies.

   The album kicks off with “Inaudible Melodies,” which itself explains the album in three minutes and 37 seconds. The song provides analogies to the idea that people live their lives differently and have experiences. While there’s no wrong way to live life, the song notes that slowing down and indulging in the current moment couldn’t hurt!

   “Middle Man” is the second song in the album, while the previous song was calm and introductory, “Middle Man” pushed the beat up and gave an almost rap feel. The lyrics come fast and are hard to understand if you aren’t looking at them. I feel like the song is open to interpretation. There’s a lot said in the song and what sense you can make of them can mean whatever you want it to.

   “Posters” is a sad story about a man who takes interest in women but nobody feels the same about him. His attempts to fit in are futile, and his life is described as boring and stale. Inclusion and being included is one of the biggest desires in life, and being denied that puts yourself in a rough state.

   “Sexy Plexi” is a motivational song about time and how you spend it. Though the name might suggest otherwise, the song goes on about how we kill time that kills us. Every moment is a moment closer to death, time is killing you- and when you kill time that’s killing you it isn’t time well spent. The song describes this action as “breaking your mind,” which I agree with as it is odd to think about killing something that’s passively killing you. Do what you want to do before it’s too late.

   “Flake” is one of Jack Johnson’s best songs, if not his best song. As the fifth song into the album, “Flake” kicks off with the strum of a guitar and thrumming drums. It’s upbeat, genuine, and has a catchy rhythm that makes it so enjoyable to listen to. The song is about understanding youth and the story of the state of a relationship. The main line of the song, “It seems to me that maybe, pretty much always means no. So don’t tell me, you might just let it go,” could arouse issues within the relationship or a concern about a relationship. The song completely changes towards the end, from an upbeat calm song to a stunning guitar solo. The change in pace alters the song to be more towards a begging or pleading state which begs the female partner to not pass him by or drag him down. “Flake” is down to heart and difficult to grasp.

   “Bubble Toes” is about Jack meeting his now wife in college. It’s a cute and catchy song that makes a connection between physical attributes and emotions. Bubble toes, being one of Jack’s staple songs, makes very little sense at face value. There could be a true hidden meaning being “Bubble Toes,” or it could solely be about his now wife. I’d say it’s up to the listener’s interpretation, if the song means something to you- stick with that.

   “Fortunate Fool” is based around a girl who believes she knows more and is better than everyone else. A good portion of the lyrics are sarcastic and point that Jack is distraught that people get away with acting like that. The title of the song, “Fortunate Fool,” stems from the girl being given everything and is foolish for thinking she is then better than everyone else. Jack ends lines with “mmmm” in the song, representing that while people notice these qualities, nobody does or says anything about it.

   “The News” is a slow, sad song with no definite meaning. While you might hear multiple smaller meanings within the song, I don’t necessarily notice a larger overarching message. “You can’t believe everything you see,” and “why don’t the newscasters cry when they read about people who die,” are both examples of deep meaning phrases that you can pull something valuable from.

   “Drink The Water” is about a surfing incident where Jack hit his head and almost died. The song symbolizes life and its preciousness. In life when you’re in pain, you drift along. The line “If I drift long enough I’ll be home,” symbolizes that. The title of the song I would assume relates to swallowing water, but it could also mean succumb to conformity.

   “Mudfootball (For Moe Lerner)” is a quick pace song about what seems to be high school and high school football. The main verse of the song, “We used to laugh a lot, but only because we thought that everything always would remain,” represents the lack of awareness for the future and living in the current moment. Moe Lerner was a friend of the Johnson family, and the song was dedicated to him as he died around when the album was being produced.

   “F-Stop Blues” is a sad tone song about viewing life from the flip side. An f-stop on a camera determines how much light is allowed through, a reference to when clouds block the sunlight while filming. This represents more than life happens, but the wind still blows and the clouds will move on.

   “Losing Hope” is another sad song about how easy it might be to lose hope when those around you disappear. Change isn’t easy but we have the ability to push through to the other side. We’re all still fools, though, we tell ourselves and others going through rough times that everything is ok and will be fine, when in reality it isn’t.

   “It’s All Understood” was Jack Johnson’s first recorded song. “It’s All Understood” is an extremely deep song that plants its ideals in politics and religion. Johnson uses a good amount of irony in his songs, and this is no exception being almost completely ironic. Conformity is such a large thing, you are tunneled to something specific and believe what you are told. The lyric from the song, “But the good book is good and that’s well understood so don’t even question if you know what I mean,” suggests that we don’t even question the Bible. Humans can have faith in whatever they wish to- but the point of the song is to maybe step back and realize that everything is not all understood and look for a deeper meaning in what we do.

   “It’s All Understood” concludes the album, fitting with its deep meaning. The album was successful and Jack Johnson went on to later create some of and sing the music for the film Curious George. The deeper meaning of his songs and groovy rhythms make for a great listening experience and might change the way you see and value life.

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Spencer Vass
Spencer Vass, Copy Editor

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