Sleep Through the Static

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Release Date

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Performance

Reviewer

Bob Smithouser
Bob Waliszewski

Album Review

Pro-Social Content

Despite being treated as the “Enemy,” a guy shows empathy toward the one he’s in conflict with, noting, “I put hatred in a box and I locked it.” Johnson sings his wife’s praises (“Angel”), reconciles with her after a spat (“Same Girl”) and contemplates the value of a deep relationship as he gazes out an airplane window (“Go On”). Love is the answer to life’s trials on the reassuring “All at Once” (“There’s still hope between the dreams/The weight of it all could blow away with a breeze”). The artist reminds listeners that emotional ups and downs are normal and cyclical, and that hard times have a way of making us stronger if we don’t lose heart (“Hope,” “Losing Keys”). The title track lobbies for peace between nations. However …

Objectionable Content

Ignoring any positive outcomes from the war in Iraq, “Sleep Through the Static” preaches an overly simplistic pacifism (“Who needs please when we’ve got guns? … We went beyond where we should have gone”). “What You Thought You Need” finds a couple searching for “the cheapest bottle of wine.”

Summary Advisory

Once again, Johnson’s sleepy acoustic poetry avoids any major problems. But Static isn’t just harmless white noise. It’s a pleasing stream of consciousness that places a premium on love, hope and reconciliation.

Bob Smithouser
Bob Waliszewski
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