The lanky, northern-Californian redhead released his self-titled debut album in 2005. Following, he released So Much More in 2007, and Hope for the Hopeless in 2008. Dennen’s jaunty tunes attracted the attention of a slew of alternative/folk heavyweights such as Dave Matthews, Jack Johnson, John Mayer and Jason Mraz—artists that he has toured with, opened for and even collaborated with on various side projects. With this impressive resume under his belt, Dennen has established himself as a force to be reckoned with in the musical landscape.
In the forementioned albums, Dennen paired socially conscious, philosophically challenging lyrics with a bright, sunny musical background that jangles like loose change down a San Franciscan sidewalk. His latest offering, Loverboy , released in April, keeps the sunniness intact, but drops the political statements in exchange for an album that is, as he states in the album’s liner notes, “about having fun and letting go.”
Dennen said that while writing the album, he focused on writing songs that are more upbeat and catchy, creating a record that is more danceable, fun to play live and fun to sing along with in a live setting. The breezy nature of the album came about by wanting to let the political statements he had made in the previous albums stand on their own, and not rewrite the same messages in a watered down form.
“In every record before this, there was something I needed to get off of my chest or a statement I wanted to make. I’ve done that and now I don’t want to recreate that. I want that work to stand up on its own feet—to shine on its own. I wanted to do something a little different and have some fun,” said Dennen.
When asked about the aim of Loverboy, Dennen said that he wanted to invite people to be positive and happy by creating an album that is as optimistic as it is uplifting.
“I wanted to put something positive out for the world, and there is nothing more positive than love. Love is the greatest thing,” said Dennen.
In addition to the new lyrical spin, Dennen incorporated a lot of new musical elements into Loverboy. Horns play a prevalent role in some of the tunes, and one can tell that Dennen’s musical maturity and compositional talent has been increasing steadily since his debut album.
Dennen said, “It’s just getting older and learning more about music. My palette of colors has grown and my taste in music has expanded a lot.”
Dennen will be playing at In the Venue Thursday, June 9th, with support from The Submarines. Tickets are $17.50 Adv/$20 day of. Doors open at 7 p.m.