Brett Dennen – Hope For the Hopeless

2009-04-01 16:36
Hope for the Hopeless
Add album titles like Hope for the Hopeless. Add a dose of nostalgia, in the form of song titles like "San Francisco" (where Brett in particular plans to move) or a retro album cover, and it's all starting to look just a little like a formula, folks.

Brett, like the majority of his colleagues on this scene, just wants the world to be a nicer place. He writes very pretty songs about what we should do to make it so - speak your mind, listen to your heart, and never hesitate "Make You Crazy" (featuring Femi Kuti), practise religious tolerance ("Heaven") and - if you're a pretty girl - sleep with him ("Closer to You").

So he's easy to tease about the obvious stuff; but for all the clichés in play, Brett Dennen does have more spunk to offer than the average. There's his voice - husky and powerful in a Rod Stewart sort of way - for one. Then also his smiling, determinedly strong songs that seem designed to comfort, inspire and re-activate the social guerrillas out there.

Will this really give him more momentum than the next sincerely bleating hippie-boy. Well probably not. I'd guess he'll never combine popularity and innovation, like John Mayer. He also lacks the magic of alt-retro leaders like Conor Oberst or Willy Mason. But he seems passionate and sincere, and that really counts for something.

Singer-Songwriters: the new supergeeks of the music scene? With names like Brett Dennen, Matt Pryor, and Baz Corden, they don't seem to have much hope of being anything more rock 'n roll than that.

What to read next: Kalahari

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.