Jack Johnson Brushfire Fairytales, 2001
When we were dating, my wife gave this album to me. I hadn't really heard of Jack Johnson at that point. It can be very intimidating to buy music for me and it was a big leap she took to give me an album that she loved, but had no idea whether I would like it or not.
Well, it turns out I liked it very much.
I find that, often, context helps me appreciate an album deeper and faster. So it was very very helpful that she included notes about her favorite songs and lines on the album.
The album is very mellow. Almost as mellow as Iron and Wine's Our Endless Numbered Days, but with a little more flourish. It's not surprising that Johnson's first career was as a professional surfer. His voice is calming like the white noise of a crashing wave, but then he'll do quirky little time changes or interesting rhymes and you can imagine that he enjoys showing off a little when he's riding the waves.
It may very well be that I enjoy this album more than Johnson's other albums because of the context and memories that my (eventual) wife adorned it with, but I feel like it catches Johnson at a period of time after he'd discovered that he could make enjoyable, interesting music, but before he was all over the radio with songs from (admittedly, very enjoyable) kids movie soundtracks.
Here's a semi-recent video of a performance of one of the albums "hits":
And here's my favorite song from the album. I still have my wife's note, but it is somewhat buried in papers in my memory box. I believe she, like me, enjoyed the time changes, but she also said that the image of "Bubbly Toes" is kind of gross...she's not wrong about that.
Jack Johnson - Bubble Toes
You can buy Brushfire Fairytales at Amazon, Amazon MP3, and iTunes