When I Look Up
Label: Jack Johnson LP5
Though Johnson has been pegged as a surfer specializing in mellow beach-pop, To the Sea finds him expanding his palette with a host of retro production tricks. Tunes such as the title track and "At or With Me" come laced with punchy piano and fuzzy power-pop guitars. Then there's the 58-second "When I Look Up," a mantra-like ditty built from xylophone and girl-group background vocals. Despite the song's length, it's a clear indication that Johnson digs playing around with his established sound.