You might know Jacob Bellens from his work with I Got You On Tape and Murder, most people do. Those days are over, though, and his three solo albums stands out as the most significant work of his career.
Consider this a journey through his solo albums, ending up with an introduction to his most recent (and critically acclaimed) solo album, Polyester Skin, and as a warm up to his concert at VoxHall this Thursday.
Obviously, we’re gonna start the journey with the first of the three solo albums; The Daisy Age. I can still remember when this album came out. How I instantly fell in love with it. And yeah, I’m a big fan of his work, but you can also count me as one of those who’s really critical of the songs and albums he’s released. It took some time and listening for some of the songs, but essentially, going from Heart of Africa to End of the Needle is to this day among the most important travelling I can do – and I still do, from time to time. It’s a journey through all sorts of reflections and feelings a human being can have. The lyrics are what carries the album, but you still get a more acoustic production, where the voice of Bellens really stands out; it’s proof of just how charismatic and compelling his voice can be. The album ends with this piece of poetry:
Where the little fish would swim inside a teardrop
the bigger ones would fall into our hands
we started laughing halfway through while talking to ourselves
to figure out the things we failed to understand
Here’s Eight Arms To Hold You, my favourite from The Daisy Age, performed live at Jazzhouse, Copenhagen:
My Convictions followed two years later, and it’s pretty much a Jacob Bellens adding more to his work from The Daisy Age. The melodies and the productions are lighter and brighter, but his lyrics and voice remains the most important elements. The bright pop melodies make the difference from the first solo record, though, and it has an incredible effect on the experience of listening to My Convictions; It’s like you’re invited in, like he’s accepted you and he’s willing to open up and tell you all about what’s going on inside his head. I don’t know if that’s the purpose, but it works.
The first album is a masterpiece from the very first second, and it remains a masterpiece until the end, where My Convictions has a few songs that really stands out from the rest – but this album has hits. It’s not a “go to” album like The Daisy Age, but it has “go to” hits, and I can live with that.
The title track is probably the best example – enjoy!
Don’t you ever feel excited
Or just the need to take control
And release yourself
To listen to the voice that’s crying
From somewhere deep inside your soul
Out for happiness
And give in to me and my convictions
Before going through Polyester Skin, let’s take a small detour. In between The Daisy Age and My Convictions, Bellens released an EP containing four songs. Now, the EP as a whole isn’t, in my opinion, worth mentioning, but there’s just this one song, which stands among the best songs he’s made. Again, that’s if you ask me! It’s difficult not to get emotional, when listening to it, you’ll see.
I could try and help you notice
strangest things that i have found
seems that when i break a promise
it never really makes a sound
and i imagine it is lonely
both the blessing and the curse
that it hurts to be the only
who understands the universe
So, we’re reaching an end of the journey through the solo work of Jacob Bellens. To this, we’re adding an important character to Bellens’ career. Him and producer Kasper Bjørke are good friends. They’ve worked together a bunch of times, and Bellens have featured on some of Bjørke’s hits; you might remember a track like Young Again being played heavily on the radio, don’t you? Well, this time, Bellens invited Bjørke to produce Polyester Skin.
Bellens with a touch of Bjørke, or Bjørke with a touch of Bellens – either way, it just works. After listening to this album, it’s no longer the voice of I Got You On Tape or Murder – this is where he’s established as a solo artist. Polyester Skin has been well received, more than that, actually, and once again, Bellens is adding even more to his two previous albums. With this album, you get hits. You get a fragile, charismatic Bellens wrapped in melodic synth pop. It just works.
There’s no need to see these albums as a trilogy, but with The Daisy Age, My Convictions, and Polyester Skin you get songs to your every mood. You can find songs that goes with being in love, being heartbroken, being over the moon or feeling like nothing really works out. It’s like he’s a friend that opens up to you with his deepest feelings, and at the same time he’s capable of putting words on yours.
Here’s to Bellens. I’ll see you Thursday at VoxHall.
Whether in a coma or a state of
total bliss and harmony
I am often feeling like a tourist in my time
no matter how far i walk or wherever
I run to chase my dreams
I always end up feeling
deaf and dumb and left behind
Details: Jacob Bellens & band + Support: LEW
Time: Doors open at 20.00
Price: 210 DKK