By Nicole Belair, Staff Writer
David Jacobsen, a solo acoustic artist from New Jersey, has recently released a new album full of humorous, melancholy original songs.
Some of his comedic lyrics are reminiscent of Bo Burnham, while his vocals have the smooth, relaxing tone of James Taylor.
If you like music with moods that range from satirical to somber, I encourage you to give his new album, Begin the Chagrin, a listen.
In Jacobsen’s words, “Begin the Chagrin presents “a range of noble, relatable, pitiable, and revolting characters dealing with disappointment or causing it for someone else. Its frustrated or frustrating protagonists include those failing at art, love, or life in general.”
In this sense, Jacobsen writes lyrics about situations and emotions we all go through – relationships, break-ups, awkward circumstances, and more – which allows him to connect with and relate to his audiences.
Jacobsen has been making music since he was fourteen, though admits it took a while for it to be listen-able.
He got into music because his parents were always big fans of music, and most of his friends in high school played an instrument.
“I focused on writing songs and mainly played bass guitar in bands when I was in high school,” Jacobsen explained to The Torch.
“After college, it became harder to hold bands together, so I grabbed an acoustic guitar and just decided I’d do it on my own.”
He draws inspiration for his songs from many different places in his life. Sometimes, songs will develop from a single line or a joke. Other times, he will write about what he’s reading or something he has listened to.
His most recent album begins with the song “Settle,” in which the character is trying to convince a girl to settle for him, because they’re not getting any younger and she might not be able to find anyone better.
The premise makes it sound silly, but it’s a catchy song full of interesting and insightful lines. Jacobsen sings, “I could make you happy, though maybe not the most you could be. I’m here and now, so settle for me.”
One of my favorite songs on the album is “Free Bird,” which presents a person who had big dreams for success that didn’t end up coming true. While he has gigs here and there, the character in the song was never able to make it as a star.
Instead of selling out shows, he’s performing at weddings, birthdays, and frat houses.
Jacobsen sings, “I thought I’d be like Dylan, writing songs critics adore. Instead I’m at a Sweet Sixteen, playing ‘That’s What Friends Are For.’”
Jacobsen also told The Torch that his song “Guitar Guy” is “a pretty obvious parody of [Billy Joel’s] “Piano Man,” which adds another level of humor to his album.
Though the song is the same tune, the hook is a bit funnier: “Sing us a song you’re the guitar guy, sing us a song we know. Though we’re not really listening anyway, we’ve just got no better place to go.”
His goal as a singer/songwriter is to “create songs that people remember for something.”
Jacobsen explained, “I want at least some hook, either melodic or lyrical for them to take away.
The funnier songs are good for giving people something to take away. The more serious and melodic ones give people more of a reason to come back.”
Jacobsen is certainly successful at crafting relatable lyrics that highlight feelings and situations that most adults can relate to, which is what makes the album intriguing.
His smooth voice and acoustic guitar make Begin the Chagrin the perfect album for a road trip, study music, or simply a pick-me-up when you need it.
To listen to his new album, you can find the stream on Youtube by searching for Begin the Chagrin, or visit his website.