14 Songs, 1 Hour, 6 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Following the release of his eponymous debut, accolades orbited around Brett Dennen's androgynous voice — he soulfully inflects like Billie Holiday, Chet Baker, and Tracy Chapman. But where his debut exuded a sunny and playful vibe (right down to the watercolor album art that could've been painted by a children's storybook illustrator), the memorable parts of Dennen's sophomore album move more pensively with lyrics that reflect on the turbulent times of the George W. Bush administration. The aptly titled So Much More delivers on the title, diving deeper into troubled waters and surfacing with stronger songs about topics like dishonest politicians, unnecessary wars, ignored disasters, and poverty. In the opening folk-rocker "Ain't No Reason," Dennen touches on sweatshop labor, a.k.a. "slavery stitched into the fabric of my clothes." The title track refers to the outcome of the 2004 presidential election: "When I heard the news my heart fell on the floor/ I was on a plane on my way to Baltimore." Dennen even calls for a revolution in "I Asked When," the most poignant and political song here. But throughout So Much More, he manages to speak his mind and sing his heart out, keeping protest folk alive, mature, and enjoyable without standing on a soapbox.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Following the release of his eponymous debut, accolades orbited around Brett Dennen's androgynous voice — he soulfully inflects like Billie Holiday, Chet Baker, and Tracy Chapman. But where his debut exuded a sunny and playful vibe (right down to the watercolor album art that could've been painted by a children's storybook illustrator), the memorable parts of Dennen's sophomore album move more pensively with lyrics that reflect on the turbulent times of the George W. Bush administration. The aptly titled So Much More delivers on the title, diving deeper into troubled waters and surfacing with stronger songs about topics like dishonest politicians, unnecessary wars, ignored disasters, and poverty. In the opening folk-rocker "Ain't No Reason," Dennen touches on sweatshop labor, a.k.a. "slavery stitched into the fabric of my clothes." The title track refers to the outcome of the 2004 presidential election: "When I heard the news my heart fell on the floor/ I was on a plane on my way to Baltimore." Dennen even calls for a revolution in "I Asked When," the most poignant and political song here. But throughout So Much More, he manages to speak his mind and sing his heart out, keeping protest folk alive, mature, and enjoyable without standing on a soapbox.

TITLE TIME
3:39
5:07
5:12
4:12
4:33
5:01
6:19
4:49
5:58
3:50
5:41
5:26
2:51
3:23

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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