12 Songs

EDITORS’ NOTES

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.

EDITORS’ NOTES

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.

TITLE TIME
3:50
3:37
4:01
3:36
4:30
4:06
3:38
2:59
4:05
3:09
4:51

About Brett Dennen

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 later by Hope for the Hopeless. When he wasn't headlining his own tours, he could be found opening bills for Dave Matthews, Taj Mahal, Ziggy Marley, and Jackson Browne, among others. Dennen's fourth studio effort, Loverboy, arrived in 2011 and featured subtle African rhythms and more of a pop veneer. It was followed in 2013 by the sparser, acoustic-based Smoke and Mirrors, which was released by Atlantic. The album was a success and landed Dennen in Billboard's Top 200 for the first time. By this point he had also landed a number of prominent TV placements including the theme song of NBC's sitcom, About a Boy. His fifth album, 2016's Por Favor, was a rhythmic, stripped-down affair with a light reggae flair. ~ James Christopher Monger

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