Calibraska EP (2015) Review

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“Calibraska” is the new EP from Jack & Jack.
Score: 4/5

The cover of Jack & Jack’s EP “Calibraska” pushes the name even further with two young men in their prime sitting in lawn chairs in the middle of a palm tree lined road – because California – while wearing dungarees and straw hats – because Nebraska. They toast each other with ears of illustrated corn – because Nebraska – using arms that are tatted with illustrated designs (I’m assuming that’s because of California).

Jack & Jack is made up of Jack Gilinsky and Jack Johnson, who both found their way to fame the same way as Shawn Mendes and Nash Grier: through vine. But as I did with Mendes’s album (Handwritten), I refuse to speak further about how they became famous. Here is a track by track review of the “Calibraska” EP.

“California”: I’ll admit, the first track is fun. But it’s fun in the way that waterslides are fun: a great way to be entertained, but there’s this deep knowing that they’re all the same.

“Shallow Love”: This ballad about someone trying to figure out if their significant other’s love is true or “shallow” is a thoughtful addition to the EP. “Shallow Love” is fun and does it job to demonstrate the group’s ability.

“How We Livin”: I find myself asking often how such a hedonistic film like “The Wolf of Wall Street” is so popular amongst my generation; how the message of “The Great Gatsby” is fogged by the parties of the new money of West Egg. Then I hear “How We Livin” and I realize how old fashioned I am. It’s a celebration of the glamorous life of being young, a man and living in LA. Even when there’s the occasional Los Angeles traffic, it’s a playground.

“Wong One”: By far the best track on this EP. There’s a little more substance to it and at times it feels a bit old school. Of course, both Jacks are still young men and it is an unwritten obligation for young men to have a song about having their hearts broken. I’ve heard these kinds of litanies too many times but it is refreshing to hear one that is straight forward. You are right, Jacks, it’s fucked up.

Final Thoughts:

This being their first EP, it’s a good start. When an EP comes out from a new artist(s), it’s allowed to be fun and light. But I’m relieved to see that the lightness has been toned down in “Calibraska.” More on the title. Perhaps what “Calibraska” means is not how different people from Nebraska and California are, but how similar. Look at them:

Jack Johnson (left) and Jack Gilinsky (right) make up Jack & Jack.
Jack Johnson (left) and Jack Gilinsky (right) make up Jack & Jack.
I would never had guessed that they weren’t from California. They look like a couple of guys I’d see walking around State Street in Santa Barbara, or in Midtown in Sacramento. I wouldn’t call them specifically Californian or Nebraskan artists; they’re just fitting into the narrative of the kids that come to California. They want to make it big in LA. So who am I to stop them?

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