With an album title like Hope For The Hopeless, singer-songwriter
Brett Dennen presents himself as a perennial optimist to the
point of making you want to be one, too. His album is rich in a country-folk
fare relatable to James Taylor, and soft calypso-swaying pendulums
that sound like a lot of fun to swing from and let consume you. Produced
by John Alagia, Hope For The Hopeless brings audiences
in touch with themselves and the world around them in a way that washes
away any fear they may have of what they will find.
Dennen confronts societal and private issues without reservations
like in "Heaven" when he tells folks, "Throw away your
misconceptions / There's no walls around Heaven / There's no codes
you gotta know to get in / No minutemen or border patrol." In
another time, these words would have been interpreted as blasphemous,
but in Dennen's songs, they appeal to a person's intelligence and
sense of logic. His lyrics show a sense of judgment which has a prophetic
meaning at times and offers the misguided some guidance. The folksy
musings in the tune roll off of Dennen's tongue so easily that they
feel like an integral part of his nature. Dennen is prolific at crafting
songs that have country-folk esthetics and balmy-pop motifs traveling
in smooth flowing lines. The comfy rhythmic pulses of "San Francisco"
and "Make You Crazy" engage the listener's sense of harmony,
and have a way of making life feel a lot more pleasant. There is a
genuineness in his songs that makes it safe for him to be honest and
candid with his emotions, and it entices the listener to do the same.
The relaxing currents in the acoustic wavelets of "So Far
From Me" make for a soothing bedding that cradles Dennen's
ruminations with caressing strokes, "Today I walked without
you / Like an empty bottle drifting out to sea / I would change
if I knew how to but it don't come that easily / If my heart wasn't
such a jungle, maybe you wouldn't feel so alone / If your heart
wasn't such an ocean / I wouldn't sink like a stone." The songs
reflect over past pain and try to heal those wounds using the tenets
of folk and country. Dennen's tunes offer company to those feelings
of loneliness and entrapment, but are still searching for an opening
to contentment. His vocals have a coarse resonance like driving
over the rough, bumpy terrain of a dirt road, but the melodic textures
of his songs are pristine and assuage the hurt that peels away the
skin. It sounds messy, but life is messy and Dennen does not run
away from that in his music.
Hope For The Hopeless is an inspirational effort on Brett
Dennen's part, using bolts of country-folk and balmy-pop reflections
which regale in his melodies as he brings his messages to the public.
Like many folk artists, Dennen's songs speak from the pulpit of protecting
individual rights and defending oneself from injustices. His songs
are multi-fold, making sure to sound melodically cohesive and also
having significance in other people's lives. It's an album that inspires
peace in relationships and solace for everyone.
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