Singer/songwriter Jack Johnson
writes songs that just feel good, sticking to an equation that combines his warm, relaxed voice with an acoustic guitar. That cozy formula made him a favorite among American college crowds, so it's no surprise that Johnson
sticks with what he does best for his third album, In Between Dreams
. Producer Mario Caldato, Jr.
is back again, touching up Johnson
's summery backdrop for another playful set of songs. The genre-blending charm and sweetness that fueled Brushfire Fairytales
and On and On
hasn't changed that much, but does it really have to? Johnson
, alongside drummer Adam Topol
and bassist Merlo Podlewski
, makes safe records. While there isn't anything wrong with that, taking a few more risks sonically and lyrically wouldn't work against him. Tender moments such as "If I Could" and "No Other Way" showcase a more reserved side on In Between Dreams
. Other highlights include the lullaby-like "Breakdown" and the bossa nova rhythms of "Do You Remember." Whether he's singing about being in love -- which he does quite well on "Better Together" and "Banana Pancakes" -- or reflecting on its hardships, Johnson
's laid-back approach is his biggest strength. In Between Dreams
is a bit brighter and more upbeat, but his song remains the same.