Danophone’s new album, Rerun, could be considered as a unique form of therapy, the kind that seeks light in darkness. Released in December 2016, this collection of 11 pop rock tracks, put together by Carsten Nielsen (vocals, guitar, bass, keyboard, saxophone), Bertil Bille (drums, cajon, percussion), and Tino Pedersen (background vocals, guitar, bass), isn’t for the emotionally immature. However, in the hands—or ears?—of the right listener, this exploration of the various stages of melancholy and regret, rather than being dark and dreary, can potentially help us become free of what holds us back from achieving happiness.
Despair is often the result of repeating mistakes; the only thing that a person in such a situation needs is the kind of honesty that Rerun provides. The acoustic guitar and vocals in the alternative rock ballad “Frightened For” create a cheerful and relaxed mood, the kind of environment one needs to address the helplessness and apathy conveyed in its lyrics: “No need to talk/Can’t be undone/It’s not your fight/When it can’t be won”.
Choosing to be upbeat despite the weight of challenges is one of the characteristics of empowerment. It means having the courage to look at the negative aspects of concepts usually thought of as positive and healthy. “Meet in the Middle” questions compromise not as something worthwhile, but rather something that takes away from happiness. Of course Nielson sounds discouraged as he sings: “If we meet in the middle/We’re still only halfway there/If we meet in the middle/Is it happier than here?” He is questioning something he is being told by all sides is good for him. But yet again, listeners are not left wondering if there is no hope; the gentle and soothing melody gives them the hope needed to face these questions head on. And since happiness is ultimately the result of honest introspection, the kind that allows us face our emotions and break negative cycles, any resentment that can arise from compromise will be aired out rather than left festering.
It takes courage, time, and patience to go through such a process, as well as thoroughness. In “Copenhagen Club”, Danophone explore another reality that is, unfortunately, not talked about nearly enough: the contrast between an outside cheerfulness and an interior darkness.With the way the number begins, slow and restrained, and the topic of a big crowd enjoying a great party, one expects a build-up of both the melody and the vocals. The trio chooses not to deliver this expectation, almost as if reflecting the dissatisfaction of a lonely heart while partying with hundreds of others.
For listeners looking for some straight up, uncomplicated music, Danophone’s Rerun includes the relaxing and soothing country-flavoured “Nation of Two”, bringing to mind a late-night conversation between two close friends over mugs of coffee that has long gone cold. Regret over a lost friendship is at the heart of the poignant “Arrested”, which would make for a great addition to a movie soundtrack. The mix of reflective numbers and more straightforward ones makes the personal and intimate offering that is Rerun all the more digestible—and a cheaper, longer-lasting form of much-needed therapy in a world that seems to lack hope.
There’s a pleasant gallop to the first few bars of Irene Kelley’s “The Hills Of …