12 Songs, 42 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

The opening song on Brett Dennen's third studio album pays homage to the City by the Bay. "San Francisco" is a bouncy, airy folk rocker that name-checks the city's landmarks like a Zagat guide with lyrics like "Down in Hayes Valley/ There's a lot of good restaurants." But things get much more interesting with the subsequent Afro-pop- inspired tune boasting a beautiful backing vocal by Femi Kuti. And though Hope for the Hopeless isn't nearly as political an album as 2006's So Much More, the lyrics on "Make You Crazy" present many good cases for loving with a liberal heart, infusing it all with a worldly, cultural groove somewhat similar to Paul Simon's work with Ladysmith Black Mambazo on 1986's Graceland. "Heaven" is another moving standout where Dennen's amazing vocal control and Billie Holiday-influenced inflections overshadow his meticulous phrasing. Borrowing a bit from Tom Petty's "Mary Jane’s Last Dance" and Neil Young's "Heart Of Gold," the romantic "Follow Your Heart" is the most rootsy number here, with a grinding Hammond organ, vintage sounding electric guitars, and an old Wurlitzer keyboard playing notes that are almost as warm as Dennen's affectionate sentiment.

EDITORS’ NOTES

The opening song on Brett Dennen's third studio album pays homage to the City by the Bay. "San Francisco" is a bouncy, airy folk rocker that name-checks the city's landmarks like a Zagat guide with lyrics like "Down in Hayes Valley/ There's a lot of good restaurants." But things get much more interesting with the subsequent Afro-pop- inspired tune boasting a beautiful backing vocal by Femi Kuti. And though Hope for the Hopeless isn't nearly as political an album as 2006's So Much More, the lyrics on "Make You Crazy" present many good cases for loving with a liberal heart, infusing it all with a worldly, cultural groove somewhat similar to Paul Simon's work with Ladysmith Black Mambazo on 1986's Graceland. "Heaven" is another moving standout where Dennen's amazing vocal control and Billie Holiday-influenced inflections overshadow his meticulous phrasing. Borrowing a bit from Tom Petty's "Mary Jane’s Last Dance" and Neil Young's "Heart Of Gold," the romantic "Follow Your Heart" is the most rootsy number here, with a grinding Hammond organ, vintage sounding electric guitars, and an old Wurlitzer keyboard playing notes that are almost as warm as Dennen's affectionate sentiment.

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Ratings and Reviews

4.3 out of 5
219 Ratings

219 Ratings

brittbarrett ,

Brett's Done it Again!

When I first heard this album, I was a bit stunned at how different it sounds from his past two albums. The lyrics are still out of this world, but it does sound a little over-produced. HOWEVER, I am a big fan of Brett Dennen as an artist and a person. His message is so deep and powerful. I can only hope he becomes more popular as time passes so more of the world can hear this hopeful perspective.

Kerrymcox ,

PRODUCERS LEAVE DENNEN ALONE!

I love the older stuff....this cd sounds overdone. Let artists be artists and quit screwin' with their talent!

Hotgrits ,

great writing...over produced

This is not the Brett Dennen I have come to love. Where is the broken down, raw sound that comes to him so naturally? His writing on this album is fantastic, as always, but I feel like the over produced sound finds a way to mask it. Hope for the Hopeless is a catchy album if that's what your looking for but it's not the new release I'd hoped for.

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