Every country has their problems. Some countries are worse off than others. I won’t go into it, the darkness of haves and the have not’s. People who moan and complain about trite bullshit and they don’t even know how good they have it. There is the grass is always greener concept and I feel that over the last several years I, as an American, have overheard other fellow Americans going on about how great Denmark is. “Oh in Denmark they have…” and “Did you hear what every citizen in Denmark gets?” I’m not saying that Denmark doesn’t sound like a wonderful place although I’m certain it’s not the Shangri-La that so many New York Times reading Americans believe it to be. Enter in my Exhibit A; Danish singer-songwriter Jens Jepsen. Jepsen grew up in the far north of Denmark along with his backing band of northerners on drums, keys and stand-up bass that helped to foster Jepsen’s unique style of folk meets Latin jazz.
Jepsen’s debut album Fool is another good example that sometimes things can be rotten in Denmark. Across Fool Jepsen documents not the fun loving free healthcare having Danish population that most of the American population is familiar with, but rather those who live under less fortunate circumstances. Jepson and Co. came up playing to drunks in the gritty pubs of northern Denmark.
These characters and their situations make their way into the veins of Fool, like on the up-tempo folk-jazz opener “Jimmy” where the songs title character is “fragile like a castle in the rain.” While on the gloomy and downbeat “Wall of Shame” Jepsen comes straight out and says it, “It’s okay to be a fool / but now I’m on the wall of shame.” And then there’s the misleading “Sweet Marie” a catchy and crisp folk number on which Jepsen, with his raspy vocals laments, “No one talks about / how bad they sleep.”
Moving away from the depression and simply concentrating on the music might be a good way to keep those skeptical of too much sadness from not giving Fool a listen, for there are plenty of bright spots on this album in the musical sense. “I was Dead” is Delta Blues infused classic, and the six-and-a half-minute “Your Trace is Gone” has that jam session feel to it and breaks up the monotony of the more heartfelt and pre-arranged songs. Then there’s the surprisingly good alt-country “Pay” which sounds like it could have come right out the recent American folk revival.
Fool is not only a great record for its folk and blues tones and tunes but also that it serves as a much needed reminder that most times the grass is always greener but one always has the option of a creative outlet to make it seem just a little better on the day to day
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