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  • Tara Flanagan

'Begin the Chagrin' - does it make you grin like it makes me?

It’s been about two months and we’re still shaking off the orange scars of 2016 and its campaign to ruin everything fun in the world, and even pop music has been affected.

Most of the stuff I’ve heard these last few months doesn’t strike me as fun; it’s more soul trap filled to the brim with this purple-soapy grime people refer to the as “soul pain.” I refer it as “letting a lack of interest constitute an excuse in order to be interesting.” (Looking at you Rae Sremmurd.)

Anyway, allow me to put more context to where I’m coming from before we start the full album review. These days I just want something that sounds fun.

Something of interest, and sadly that the most fun I’ve been having from American music, is the Smashing Pumpkins’s “Melon Collie and the Infinite Sadness” album.

It is an album about the very concept of human suffering. Outside of that, I’ve been entertaining two other bands of note that are coming up from the Indie scene - the female fronted rock group Bleached and the trio of rocking goofs Remo Drive.

One of the things I find especially refreshing with Remo Drive in particular are their comedic stylings, as I can’t remember the last time I found lyrics particularly funny.

So when I got this notice that David W. Jacobsen offered an album filled of humorous and melancholy songs, I thought “Geez wiz oh wowie, I can’t wait to start sinking my teeth into this puppy.”

So let us get into the real nitty gritty of this album. David W. Jacobsen is mainly a singer songwriter and if there is anything I’ll give his work, it’s definitely wordy.

Jacobsen often paints his songs with character perspectives instead of going the whole first person; it’s all about me approach. Good on him to shake up the formula. We can’t all be the same, as much as the Lorde copy-cats want you to believe, but I digress.

The album “Begin the Chagrin” begins with the song “Settle,” the story of a man trying to get a woman to settle on him due to both not getting younger.

Upon going through this song and understanding it’s subject matter, I began to start memorizing the lyrics, as my unhappy Valentine’s Day has made me realize I will be singing this song in my mid to late 40s in a last ditch attempt to attract a mate.

As an opening track I feel it starts the album off fine and perhaps has taught me a lesson on what makes a good opening track to an album.

As the album continues, we get the secondary track “Free Bird,” and no, there is a significant lack of slide guitar in this song as it is not a cover of the Lynyrd Skynyrd classic, and with an interesting establishment of setting that is very Billy Joel in nature.

Which brings us to “Guitar Guy.” The bitter love child of “Piano Man” and one of Weird Al’s more obscure songs, “Guitar Guy” as a song demands to be played live in my ears.

Everything about it sounds like the kind of song a guitarist would bring into their catalog that they would play for their friends during the down times of parties. In that aspect “Guitar Guy” is a great parody of “Piano Man” as every pianist I know is required by law to know that song or face public execution.

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