Jack Johnson is human Ambien. Technically the Hawaiian-born singer-songwriter’s stuff qualifies as modern folk, but really it’s a lot of pompous faux-esoterica, with lyrics that muse lightly on the kinds of themes that only seem deep and important to somebody who’s really high all the time and who doesn’t own a pair of shoes that aren’t flip-flops.
One of the tracks from Johnson’s new record is called Ones and Zeros, and it’s a real think piece on, man, what’s going on in the world around us and how it’s all just so heavy and, like, yeah.
Here’s a lyrical sample for you to digest:
And all the greatest of the heroes started jumping from the books
They started wearing ones and zeros
Looking more and more like crooks
They stole the sunlight from the future
Took a sip, drained half the glass, and put it back
And a lot of people like to have a feast
Not so many could stomach the killing
Lot of traffic on the streets, so who’s really doing all the drilling
Keep on filling what can never be full
My imagination has got a hold on me
There’s this vine trying to climb
Through the window into my life…
There’s this wine trying to find
Its way from the bottle into my mind
Anyway, while listening to Ones and Zeroes on KCRW this morning, I started to get a strange feeling: I’ve heard this before. I know these words. I know this pretentiously florid introspection, the kind that gives you douche-chills and makes you want to look away out of sheer embarrassment for the guy with the guitar and the complete lack of self-awareness.
And then it hit me: Jack Johnson is David Brent.
Read the above again, and then watch this — Ricky Gervais as David Brent doing Spaceman Came Down.
Also submitted for your approval, David Brent’s full performance to an audience of helpless co-workers on The Office.
And Jack Johnson performing, appropriately, for a bunch of preschoolers.