The latest music from David Brookings is a magnificent collection of introspective and, often though inspiring musings of the “New Normal” in which we are living. The songs revolve around his masterful creativity and composition, his talent is undeniable.
His music has transformed over time, like a living being, and has now come into its own and is not only well received by his fans, but harkens to what is the next wave of music, I would call it, it I could create a genre for this new music, I would call it “Electric Folk”, with inspiring lyrics and experimental textures based on classic styling, this album looks to pave the way for a new type of artist, and a voice for the new generation. Mind you, I don’t hear fear or complaining ion his work, but a mind trying to rationalize what is going on, trying to make sense of it all and making a safe passage in the journey for all who come into contact with his music.
Long before David Brookings launched his recording career in 2000, tracked three albums at the legendary Sun Studio and regaled fans for years in the Bay Area with the coolly retro modern day British Invasion vibe of his band David Brookings and the Average Lookings
One of two infectious preview tracks being released in advance of the LP Mania At The Talent Show drops November 12, the dreamy, atmospheric mid-tempo tune “Hard Times” may have been the last one written for the project, but it perfectly captures the zeitgeist of 2021 and the latest stage of the pandemic era – where we’re moving about freely but cautiously, waiting to emerge fully from the anxieties, fears and challenges of the past year and a half.
Brookings sets the personal yet universal tone and the clever rhyme scheme of the tune in the first verse: “How much more can I take? I’ve been trying not to break in the hard times/Feel the wind through the trees/Heaven help you if you sneeze in the hard times.” Between the main verses, he inserts bridges that address the fraught reality but ultimately offer encouragement: “These are strange days / There’s an outrage / Everything’s fine – it’s just hard times.” Similar tracks on the album that carry this 60’s pop theme are Keep It Real, Driving to Ojai and One of Us is Crazy ( The Other One is Me).
Inspired by his musical heroes and the music of the prior generations, David Brookings weaves a tapestry of verse that keeps in the mind, and imprints itself, like memories, to be resident in your head and heart forever. The music takes a variant departure with a very grooving track on the forthcoming album titles “The Words Come Back To Haunt You”, where it is said words can be left like burses on the body.
The other preview tune, the spirited and jangling, 60’s-early 70’s influenced “Get Off (My Mind) harkens back to the youthful melancholy feeling of never quite getting over that first love and pining for her and the past like “a ghost” that’s still “flying strong.” Catchy as the song is, it’s certainly ironic coming from a guy who’s been happily married for 16 years – but that’s the genius of Brooking’s great ability to fashion relatable characters and put them situations we can all relate to.
“I enjoy taking artistic license with stories inspired by my life,” he says, “and on Mania at the Talent Show and I’m proud of my development as a songwriter and the fact that I don’t just write about girls. I try to always write about different interesting things, projecting myself as a character in various situations and creating an interesting musical movie around that”.
Mania At The Talent Show touches on many topics, and some, in review, are hilarious, but have a strong footing in our reality. The ridiculous is found in the foundation of life, like the track Women of L.A. an upbeat and rhythmic song which takes a moment to point out the ludicrous behavior of being “in the know”- one lyric that caught my attention was “These women with name brand shades that covers up half of their face, some that look like Ewocks that went overboard on Botox but their friends tell them you look so great”- this is masterful writing and a realistic view of the daily dose of insanity in which we live.
Another very thoughtful track is Kill Shot, with a killer line “I used to adore you but there’s a breaking point, would you rather be Happy or Right, tonight” there are so many catch phrases in this song, many that all of us use, but David has taken off hand comments and cliché phrases and turned into a song that can explain the apathetic path of the social norm that has developed.
The title track Mania at the Talent Show, in which, like the musical poets Jim Croce, Don McLean and Harry Chapin would tell a story in such detail and colorful analogy, that you can see it happening in your mind. Followed by the song Hide Your Crazy, this is just a really fun and rocking album and a tribute to the inspiration music can bring into life. The final track on this album Mystery of Time, is magical, and as I mentioned, touching, it reminds you of your youth and what life could be, should be, a ride into the cosmos on a silver rocket, heading for the stars.
David Brookings has created in Mania at the Talent Show something we need, a look in verse at a state of calm in a crazy and ever changing world.
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