“Broken” (Jack Johnson Cover music video)

Originally posted 2009-11-02 23:51:05. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

For Jack Johnson chords & lyrics, CLICK HERE!

By Chris Moore:

The best part about contributing to this blog is that, every so often, all the pieces fall together at just the right time.  For example, I still have the remnants of a cough that just doesn’t seem to want to leave me entirely, yet I really wanted to record a new video for tonight.  Meanwhile, over the weekend, I was listening to Jack Johnson on shuffle when this song — “Broken” from his Sing-a-Longs and Lullabies from Curious George soundtrack CD — and immediately felt the urge to learn and record it.

Fortunately, the register is fairly low and the chords are very simple, so this was a joy to lay down as a session.

Of course, every cover song music video is not without its challenges when it involves me…

The only difficult aspect of this song is that, although I’ve heard it dozens of times and could sing along to the chorus in my sleep, I really don’t know the verse.  Thus, I put “Broken” on repeat in my car on the way home.  After listening to it seven or eight times straight, I didn’t seem to be much closer to nailing the lyrics.  Still, I soldiered on — I typed up the lyrics from the booklet and practiced a few times to the music.  Finally, I practiced a few times on my own before I hit the “record” button.

And, a few takes later, you have a session to watch!

The reason I was listening to Jack Johnson in the first place was that Mike showed Jim and I his copy of En Concert, the new live CD/DVD, this past Thursday at wrestling.  Based on my disappointment at his last record, I hadn’t purchased the CD myself, but Mike had nothing but great things to say about it, so it’s only a matter of time before I find my way back to the “J” section of my local Newbury Comics store…

Speaking of new music, I am wildly curious about tomorrow’s new Weezer release.  The title alone has caused some controversy.  Based on a recommendation from The Office actor Rainn Wilson (who plays Dwight Schrute), Rivers Cuomo and company titled their latest studio album Raditude.  I’ve heard the first track, “(If You’re Wondering If I Want You To) I Want You To” and it may be cheesy, but it sounds great and it’s fun to listen to.  That being said, the other titles on the album alone are enough to make one question what Raditude will be like — tracks like “I’m Your Daddy” and “Girl Got Hot.”

All I will say for now is that The Red Album seemed very weird at first, and it quickly grew on me.  I was just listening to it this weekend, in fact, and realizing that it is truly one of my favorite Weezer releases.  I can’t imagine that this new album will be up to that level, but I have promised myself that I will reserve judgment until after I’ve heard it a few times.  Based on their incredible catalog alone, Weezer really does deserve the benefit of the doubt.

More on that next time…

And that about does it for me, at least for now.  This week is crazy for me, as my grades are due this Friday.  In addition, I have meetings today and now Thursday, a full day of professional development (i.e. no time to grade) tomorrow, and I’m monitoring the selling of tickets at the drama production on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.  Add in some wrestling on Thursday night and a whole lot a gradin’ goin’ on, and I’ve got one busy week!  I am looking forward to the weekend, as I’ll be completing a swap with my former student Geoff — some Ben Folds for some Tom Waits.  It’s bound to give me some more interesting listening and perhaps some more interesting Laptop Sessions songs…

See you next session!

Jack Johnson’s “To The Sea” (2010) – The Weekend Review

Originally posted 2010-12-19 12:12:48. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

By Chris Moore:

RATING:  3 / 5 stars

If you’re looking for a benchmark three-star album, Jack Johnson’s To The Sea is a downright lovely candidate.

To The Sea is a charming little album populated by harmless pop songs that are predominantly driven by Johnson’s guitars, both acoustic and electric.  There is, of course, the basic rhythm section we’ve come to expect: Adam Topol on drums and Merlo Podlewski on bass.  This is all accented quite nicely by Zach Gill’s keyboards.

Here and there, as in the bare bones arrangement and thick harmonies of “When I Look Up,” Johnson diverges from the regularly scheduled program, but, for the most part, this is business as usual.  Excellent tracks like “From the Clouds” and even the single “You and Your Heart” suffer from sounding too choreographed at times.  The former heats up a bit at the end and the latter is catchy and lyrically interesting, so this deficiency is covered over for the most part, though it’s not so well disguised on others like “At or With Me.”

The stripped down, direct sentiment of “My Little Girl” and “Only the Ocean” is proof positive that Johnson hasn’t lost the knack for writing and performing simple songs that present cause for pause and reflection.  Likewise, “Red Wine, Mistakes, Mythology” is a catchy smirk-and-wink of a song, worthy of being termed anthemic even and thus illustrative of Johnson’s pop mentalities and abilities.

These aren’t the issues here.

What is questionable is the manner in which the other tracks blend together.  On the one hand, they operate very cohesively, as an album.  In addition to the commonalities in sound, the rhetoric of “No Good with Faces” on track three easily gives way to that on the third to last track “Pictures of People Taking Pictures,” as it does from the sociological commentary on uncertainty of track four, “At or With Me,” to the directness of the penultimate song, “Anything But the Truth.”

Clearly, To The Sea is more than merely a collection of songs written around the same time.

To The Sea (Jack Johnson, 2010)

To The Sea (Jack Johnson, 2010)

On the other hand, the tracks blend so well as to defy individuality at times.  For instance, it is difficult to decide whether a song like “Turn Your Love” is grooving or falling into a rut.  I have yet to figure out whether “The Upsetter” and “Pictures of People Taking Pictures” are moving, or whether the harmonies make up for what the words and instrumentation lack.

Ironically, this is the first time I’ve ever felt lukewarm about a Jack Johnson release.  Accusations of lukewarmth have followed him his entire career, notably being the mantra chanted by those minimizing such outstanding albums as In Between Dreams and On and On.  (Cough.  Nudge.  This means you and your sub-three star balderdash, Rolling Stone.)

Frankly, I’ve never really gotten into Brushfire Fairytales, but it has an appeal that I won’t deny, and it is also a debut effort.  Likewise, I didn’t like Sleep Through the Static at first — in fact, I hated it.  I felt it was a letdown following the “Jack Johnson goes electric” hype, and I resented the inordinate amount of attention it received from critics.  However, when I eventually warmed to it, it came as a result of realizing that the individual songs were actually of very high quality.  I still don’t think it compares as an album in the ranks of In Between Dreams and On and On, but song for song, it holds its own.

So, in summary, I’ve never felt lukewarm about Jack Johnson’s music.

Until now.

The truth is that To The Sea is a likable — charming, even — studio album that lacks the punch, the elusive “x factor” to make it truly moving.  It functions a little too nicely as background music.  It’s a bit too chill, even for Johnson.  Still, there are those moments, like his tender vocals on “No Good with Faces” and his electric solos on “To The Sea” and “At or With Me” — each singlehandedly better than any electric performance on Sleep Through the Static — that stand out from the rest, as if to remind us that Jack Johnson is an artist not to be underestimated.

You might love this album.  You might think it’s forgettable.  As such, there’s no better reason to award it a three-star rating.

“Walter Johnson” (Jonathan Richman A Cappella Cover) – OPENING DAY DOUBLE HEADER 1 of 2

Originally posted 2009-04-06 22:51:20. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

For Jonathan Richman lyrics, CLICK HERE!

By Chris Moore:

Hey there, sports fans!  Welcome to yet another “Chris Moore Monday” here at the Laptop Sessions new music video blog.  Today, as you may already know, is the opening day for the 2009 season of the New York Mets.  Ah, America’s favorite pastime…

Baseball!

Because I couldn’t be home in time to watch the first Mets regular season game, I decided to celebrate by learning and recording not one but two cover songs tonight.  This is the first video, inspired by an encounter with one of my colleagues.  At the end of school on Friday, he stopped by my room and said simply, “Listen to Walter Johnson before opening day.”  All I could think to say was, “Is that a song or a person?”  Sure enough, it’s a song.  He smiled as he replied and repeated that I should listen to it before opening day.  So, as suggested, I looked it up on YouTube early this morning and found the Jonathan Richman song “Walter Johnson.”  It’s an a cappella performance from his 1995 album You Must Ask the Heart.

A search of Wikipedia produced a brief biography and a picture of Richman with a guitar and prominent eighties-era Tom Selleck chest hair.  I don’t know what I expected, but it was certainly interesting to put a face to the singer of this unique song.

Truth be told, I have no real idea what possessed me to record a version of “Walter Johnson.”  There’s something about recording your own version of a song that forces you to become intimate, if only temporarily, with a track.  In this case, I don’t have any plans to buy any Richman albums in the near future, so I figured it would be a long time before I heard “Walter Johnson” again.  Being that it was opening day, it only seemed appropriate that I would pay tribute to Walter Johnson by singing my own version of the song.

I hope you enjoy it.  Feel free, of course, to laugh as you wish.  The “bum ba bum ba bum” parts are pretty funny — at least, they were to me at first.   But, really, this is the perfect day to sing this song!

And this is only the first of two baseball-related tunes I’ve carved out for you today.  Tune into the next one, “Joe DiMaggio Done It Again,” coming very shortly (watch it!)…

“Walter Johnson” by Jonathan Richman – Lyrics

Originally posted 2009-04-06 19:35:24. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

For a Jonathan Richman cover video, CLICK HERE!

“Walter Johnson”
Jonathan Richman

I’m a gonna tell you if you don’t know…
Bum ba bum ba bum ba bum ba bum ba bum ba bum
About a great ball player from a long time ago.
Bum ba bum ba bum ba bum ba bum ba bum ba bum

A hero to me; I ain’t puttin’ you on, son.
I now tell the story of baseball’s Walter Johnson.

All through baseball he was loved and respected.
Was there bitterness in Walter Johnson?
Well, it was never detected.

When pitchers throw their pitch to scare…
Bum ba bum ba bum ba bum ba bum ba bum ba bum
They’ll almost hit that opposing player, whoa…
Bum ba bum ba bum ba bum ba bum ba bum ba bum

Walter Johnson wouldn’t do that, not even just a little.
He kept that baseball right down the middle.

And all through baseball he was loved and respected.
Was there bitterness in Walter Johnson?
Well, it was never detected.

Well, when the Washington nine was a-gwyne to win…
Bum ba bum ba bum ba bum ba bum ba bum ba bum
Walter would ease up a little on the opposition.
Bum ba bum ba bum ba bum ba bum ba bum ba bum

The other teammates, they just didn’t get it.
They said, “Hey there, Walter, how come you let him hit it?”
Walter told them with his gentle smile.
Said, “Boys, this game’s no fun if you don’t get a hit once in a while.”

And all through baseball he was loved and respected.
Was there bitterness in Walter Johnson?
Well, it was never detected.

Well, a record’s just a record in a book that’s just a book.
Bum ba bum ba bum ba bum ba bum ba bum ba bum
Walter Johnson never gave the opposing team so much as a dirty look.
Bum ba bum ba bum ba bum ba bum ba bum ba bum

And a season’s just a season in a game that’s just a game.
And Walter Johnson cared about people more than he cared about fame.

So, all through baseball he was loved and respected.
Was there bitterness in Walter Johnson?
Well, it was never detected.