Independent singer/songwriter David Jacobson reached out to The Point News recently for a review of his new album Begin the Chagrin, which he describes as “humorous and melancholy.” The album delivered some decidedly quirky lyrics, but they were often too cheesy for my personal taste. However, if you have a proclivity for Weird Al Yankovic, Begin the Chagrin may be right up your alley.
Throughout the first few songs, Jacobson highlights his unique voice (Is that an accent I detect? Perhaps not). One might generously compare him to David Bryne of the rock band Talking Heads. Jacobson also showcases his gentle rhythms and smooth guitar melodies. His sparing use of wind instruments- harmonica and flute, are tasteful and feel almost witty as they occur.
One song, Guitar-guy, takes a daring risk, parodying a beloved classic in a manner that implies mockery. In this case, the song satirizes “Piano Man” by Billy Joel. I personally think this risk would have been better left untaken.
“Your Sister” feels like the creepy cousin of “Stacy’s Mom” by Fountains of Wayne. Luckily, this is one of the parody songs on the album… I hope. I would prefer that future releases will be more clear about this. Unfortunately, this song was the one that got stuck in my head.
“Binoculars” is a rather cringe worthy (and hopefully) satirical song about peering through a girl’s window. Once again, this is the weird cousin of Through the Glass by Stone Sour. Unlike Stone Sour however, David Jacobson is unlikely to find himself on the Billboard Hot 100 for the tune.
About halfway through the album, he introduces an unnamed female singer for a duet about love called “Rosalind.” Jacobson’s duet partner and the flute feature set this song apart from the past few. Personally, I would like to hear more from this duet.
This is followed by a rather distasteful song,“Dan Danielle” about a transgender person and their transition. If you value political correctness or trans rights, this song probably won’t sit well with you. I’m not sure this is the direction he meant to take with this song, but it seems Jacobson could learn a thing or two about using correct pronouns and maybe even learn what the term “deadname” means, instead of putting it in the title.
My overall consensus: Mr. Jacobson has talent and some good ideas as far as parodies and original lyrics, but this album is a tad lackluster. I would give this work ⅖ stars. He has potential, and with a little support, his rating could improve. Word to the wise: Go to YouTube with your parody music, not college newspapers. Begin the Chagrin definitely gives off some Weird Al vibes, but nothing truly compares to Weird Al. Sorry, Mr. Jacobson.
Even if we enjoy his music, perhaps we should hope he doesn’t do a set at SMCM- as he so eloquently says in Free Bird, “Last minute gig in some college town, I just hope that we get paid. The audience is half our age, none of us are getting laid.” Sorry to hear where your interest lies, and better luck next time!