What We Want, What We Get

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Dave Barnes | Razor & Tie Records

Dave Barnes’ fourth album (his second with Razor & Tie) is a nicely done collection of upbeat songs delivered in a friendly-feeling acoustic-pop style.

Taking the direct approach with his lyrics, Barnes writes most of his 10 songs as if to a single listener, whether a friend, a romantic interest or God. He covers a range of topics—falling in love or out of love, feeling pain and overcoming it, viewing life with a new outlook, and others.

Mostly, however, the songs play to the theme of “expectation.” They reflect not only the album title but also the emotional struggles that come when we place certain expectations on our lives. Yet Barnes avoids the melancholic or introspective feel such songs often have and instead delivers them consistently with pop melodies.

The up-tempo “What I Need” features blues guitarist Jonny Lang, not on guitars but on vocals, driving the song with his soulful singing. On several other tunes, the strains of an organ played in a Wallflowers style fill the background, complementing Barnes’ guitar and adding richness to his sound.

Worth noting, though not apparent from his songs, is Barnes’ other career as a stand-up comedian. It is perhaps partly why What We Want, What We Get feels accessible—with lyrics that are relatable and conversational and a sound that’s catchy and relaxed.

Click here to purchase this CD.

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