Artist : David W. Jacobsen
Title : Footprints
Label : Zbokth
Format : CD
Review Date : 27/12/2005
Release Date : Released
The "underground" and "Indie" scene would never survive if it were not for guys like David Jacobsen populating it. These artists are around for a couple of reasons : they love music and want to share their love for it ; they dream of a career but do not give in if a career does not really seem to happen and finally because they have a lot to say to all of us. David might not have the most unique voice, nor the biggest talent for song writing ever but he definitely knows how to write a funny lyric full of humour about everyday life. He has a distinct vision on everyday events and knows to translate these into songs. I am sure life is never boring for this guy.
He could be placed in the same category as some other folk-pop-rock singer songwriters. Off course Bob Dylan is always the iconic artist in this category, but then again I am quite sure David does not believe he is the new icon, the first one to overrule the status of untouchable that Bob Dylan has received meanwhile. Is he the next Neil Young or Tom Waits ? No, he does not go about as they did. Is he the newest version of Weird Al Yankowicz ? He does turn to humour and cynicism, but not to ridiculing 'serious' stuff such as Weird Al does. He is a completely different artist, a guy who says to be inspired by Yes, Emmerson Lake and Palmer, Bob Dylan and Randy Newman. He has also been engaged in writing Broadway musicals, so there has to be some influence there as well. He personally plays mainly acoustic folk with some excursions into more rock oriented material. His sings with a sense of humour and sometmes sarcasm and cynicism about life, love, relationships, community and work. His previous CD was his personal view on life in the office, now he has turned his attention to what occupies (almost) everyone's mind continuously...
Some examples of his songs. First I will mention "Batteries", the third track and second song on the album. The song tells the story of all possible pick-up lines possible and the worst possible response to them : "I said: "why don't you just come home with me ?". She said : "I'd rather stay home with my batteries"... or a response such as "I'd rather stay home and make myself feel great". I surely hope he has never had to hear these answers personally. Footprints sounds a lot like The Smiths and even more like Morrissey himself. Then "Cordelia" is quite original as it tells King Lear's story from a different point of view as the one we are used to. In "Sleepwalking" which is just David's voice supported by some self-done choruses and his singing, he severely criticizes society and it's hollow participants who are merely present for "giving an taking". He also describes them as "fetching, jumping at your own reflection while shadows play against your fears and you move in no direction ?" It is clear he has a million great lines to spill and a zillion of artistic approaches to add to song writing lyrically. David sings : "You work, you drink, you die.." in his version of "Meaning of Life", which is a more musical oriented version of what Monty Python used to do musically. Then he becomes serious, emotional and shows his most fragile side on "To Your Door". This track sticks to your skin and makes your soul shiver with recognition of David's heartache. As from this track on he jumps on to the theme of past love and long gone romances... And empathy grows as David takes us further along on a trip to his heart and probably his peronal past. We all remember how we were and are and so many of us faced the same fears, angers, doubts, ... Best example is "Words I could not, ever say first, though I had planned and rehearsed". (from track 14, "Fragments). "Christmas in Jersey City" is quite a rude track and I am not sure how sincere the excuses are when he sings "Merry X-mas to you. I am sorry for all the things I did to you". This song reminds me most of Bob Dylan and his realistic style of storytelling. Great rock on "Dance" and then probably the track in which the acoustic guitar, David's voice and his lyrics meet best as if they all three joined in a polygamous relationship.
So finally I can only say that this CD is worth the discovery though it is not likely that David ever makes it to real stardom. For that, his texts are possibly to sarcastic sometimes and his songs too realistic for many people. From the singing point of view I guess there are better singers and worse, but songs need to be so exceptional when you do not possess the miracle voice and then competition is harsh... The odds are against him, but probably if he does not make it in this life, then - as he sings on "Famous" - he might become famous after he dies when someone picks up one of his well written songs full of potential. If I learned one thing from this CD, then it is that David is at least regularily a first class songwriter ! He sometimes reminded me of Morrissey or The Tragically Hip when I listened to his choice of words and phrases. And that is definitely a compliment.