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Hope for the Hopeless

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iTunes Review

The opening song on Brett Dennen's third studio album pays homage to the City by the Bay. "San Francisco" is a bouncy, airy folk rocker that name-checks the city's landmarks like a Zagat guide with lyrics like "Down in Hayes Valley/ There's a lot of good restaurants." But things get much more interesting with the subsequent Afro-pop- inspired tune boasting a beautiful backing vocal by Femi Kuti. And though Hope for the Hopeless isn't nearly as political an album as 2006's So Much More, the lyrics on "Make You Crazy" present many good cases for loving with a liberal heart, infusing it all with a worldly, cultural groove somewhat similar to Paul Simon's work with Ladysmith Black Mambazo on 1986's Graceland. "Heaven" is another moving standout where Dennen's amazing vocal control and Billie Holiday-influenced inflections overshadow his meticulous phrasing. Borrowing a bit from Tom Petty's "Mary Jane’s Last Dance" and Neil Young's "Heart Of Gold," the romantic "Follow Your Heart" is the most rootsy number here, with a grinding Hammond organ, vintage sounding electric guitars, and an old Wurlitzer keyboard playing notes that are almost as warm as Dennen's affectionate sentiment.

Customer Reviews

Lyricist for our generation

In these convoluted and overstimulated times, Brett's lyrics speak for so many compassionate, loving, socially-aware young people in such a simple, clear way. His music is always groove-worthy and fused together by a variety of sounds - but never muddled or disparate. This style of this album may be much more "mainstream" than his previous works, but it only goes to show the diversity he is capable of and the bredth of the audience he deserves. Keep making albums, Brett. You are incredible! And for those of you who have never seen him live - WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?! He is twenty times better live in concert.


I love the older stuff....this cd sounds overdone. Let artists be artists and quit screwin' with their talent!

great writing...over produced

This is not the Brett Dennen I have come to love. Where is the broken down, raw sound that comes to him so naturally? His writing on this album is fantastic, as always, but I feel like the over produced sound finds a way to mask it. Hope for the Hopeless is a catchy album if that's what your looking for but it's not the new release I'd hoped for.


Born: October 28, 1979 in Oakdale, CA

Genre: Singer/Songwriter

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Amiable West Coast singer/songwriter Brett Dennen first drew attention in 2004 with the single "Desert Sunrise." The tune, with its easy groove and soulful phrasing, garnered enough spins on KCRW to warrant the release of his self-titled debut the following year. Stylistically, Dennen's thoughtful, laid-back tunes fit in with the burgeoning singer/songwriter scene that had produced stars like Jason Mraz and Jack Johnson. He signed with Dualtone and released 2006's So Much More, followed two years...
Full Bio
Hope for the Hopeless, Brett Dennen
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Customer Ratings