By Julian Guilarte
Singer-songwriter David W. Jacobsen, a former student at William Paterson, was going for humor when he wrote the lyrics for “Your Sister,” a song about a man falling in love with his wife’s sister.
“Long before you saw me kiss her, I always wanted your sister,” the refrain reads. “I’ll try not to let you see me kiss her; now I’m with your sister.”
The song did not strike a chord with a key demographic: Jacobsen’s wife.“I can see why she didn’t like it,” he said.
The song exemplifies the mixed bag of characters on Jacobsen’s newest album, “Begin the Chagrin,” now available on iTunes and on other online stores.
Jacobsen, 42, who grew up in South Orange, N.J., said his work was inspired by disappointment and unfulfilled expectations. His performances replicate live acoustic guitar and voice samples with live rhyme over beats. He mainly performs at Café Avoid in New York City, where he lives.
A passion for music was not what initially interested Jacobsen in playing. Before attending WPU in 1993 and 1994, he played music at high school socials as a way to meet girls. Then he began listening to two influential rock groups.
“Growing up, my biggest musical influences were the bands The Kinks and The Oaks, and I still listen to their music to this day,” he said.
Jacobsen, who transferred from WPU and graduated from Rutgers, said he does not listen to current songs on the radio because he feels they are too repetitive and lack meaning.
“To make successful music money, you don’t write on inspiration,” he said. “You write for what someone else wants to hear.”
Jacobsen said he views music as painting narratives and leaving strong impressions on listeners.
“Begin the Chagrin” conveys failures and dealing with disappointment or causing it for others. The topics are about art, love and life experiences.
Jacobsen sets the tone for the album with the song “Settle.” The song’s message is getting a woman to settle for him after she tried and failed to get a man of higher stature. It has a somber tone but the song picks up during the hook:
“You always remember crushes more than people you date for a few weeks,” Jacobsen said. He explained that the heartbreak of never dating your crush can be more memorable than a short-term relationship.
While reflecting on the album, Jacobsen was pleased with most of his work and felt that “In the Schoolyard” had the most depth and was a standout track.
His other favorites were “Free Bird” and “Guitar Guy.” These tracks are about a musician who does not have a day job and must adjust expectations while living on a shoestring budget.
These songs strike a cord with Jacobsen as he often wonders what could have happened if he were able to fully commit himself to his music.
“Begin the Chagrin” can be heard on Jacobsen’s website DavidWJ.com. He is also on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram as @DavidWJmusic.