If music is a window to an artist’s soul, then David W. Jacobsen’s soul is looking pretty dark. The independent singer/songwriter recently released an album entitled “Begin the Chagrin.” If I’m being honest I definitely went into listening with the expectation for some dark and twisty songs that you only listen to on a rainy day. Afterall, “chagrin”, meaning humiliation and embarrassment, doesn’t exactly imply that Jacobsen will be singing warm and fuzzy love songs.
I was pleasantly surprised, however; when I pressed play on the first song of the album, “Settle”, and heard upbeat guitar strumming. As I continued through the album I noticed that these songs are very reminiscent of the melancholy artists of the early 1970s. Jacobsen seemed to be channeling the dark humorous tones made famous by artists such as Bob Dylan, Simon and Garfunkel, and Leonard Cohen.
Jacobsen surprised me by not falling into the trap of angsty singer-songwriters addicted to minor chords and storm metaphors,in fact he did the exact opposite. Jacobsen’s writing took the humorous perspectives of many differing protagonists varying in subject matter but remaining consistently relatable and relevant. This humourous tone is most obvious in the songs, “Your Sister”, an ode to the protagonist’s girlfriend’s sister who he is attracted to, and “Binoculars” a tribute to a beautiful girl the character had watched with binoculars.
My favorite song on the album is “Guitar Guy.” This song shares a story of a songwriter who has strong messages they want to share but are stuck performing for an audience that isn’t really listening. A song that will resonate in the hearts of all aspiring songwriters drowning in the computer age. My only qualm is that the melody and storyline is eerily similar to that of the classic song “The Guitar Man”, written by the 1960’s classic rock band Bread.
The album starts strong with an obviously heavy influence from the classic rock bands that many including myself idolize greatly. This is a genre that I believe is important because it emphasizes the lyrics and the message rather than how quickly audiences can memorize the chorus. If you are one with a broad music taste I would recommend branching out and giving this album a listen.