By Alyse Deatherage
Singer/songwriter David W. Jacobsen recently released his most recent album, Imprint, on November 6, 2022. The album’s final song was added in 2022, but the songs were written over the years from 2019 to 2022 and inspired by Jacobsen’s journaling he had done both during the COVID-19 pandemic and during his high school years.
As a child, Jacobsen found a natural allure towards music, and he began to explore his musical interests around the age of 13. “Although I sang songs into a Fisher Price tape deck when I was about 5,” said Jacobsen, “I began to really write songs when I was 13.” He first studied and began playing music in high school, where he played bass. Then, he decided to pursue bands but found that working in groups was a difficult task that increased in difficulty as he and the bandmates he played with grew older.
Jacobsen also explored his musical interests in college at the Berklee College of Music but found that his specified field at the time of Jazz fusion was not the field he wanted to pursue further. Now, he has decided to change his focus to songwriting.
Jacobsen says his most recent album, Imprint, is about “memories that haunt, whether you realize it or not.” The album explores issues with regrets, experiences, and other things that have happened in a person’s life that they may not know have or do affect them. “The past that you cannot bury and recollections that linger, sometimes just out of mind, are always with you somewhere,” said Jacobsen. “Whether it is something you regret doing or someone you regret knowing, whether you think about it all the time or hardly at all, those experiences are part of who you are today.”
The opening track of Imprint is titled “Things I’ve Said Big Mouth Strikes Again,” which includes lines such as: “The things most regrettable/ They seem the most unforgettable/ Haunting me/ The words most poorly chosen/ They seem forever frozen/ Haunting me.” This song, Jacobsen says, is “an overly honest look at saying the wrong things at the wrong times, something that can certain[ly] become a haunting memory of its own.”
While Jacobsen was inspired by his journaling and experiences for this album, he also focused on other central figures in his life and history for certain tracks. The track called “Nine Days” “takes a different angle of the haunting of historical events as it is about Lady Jane Grey who was Queen of England for 9 days in 1553,” said Jacobsen.
Additionally, in one song titled “Maple Street,” Jacobsen explores the life of a girl whom he went to high school with. This particular girl was having a difficult time at home, according to Jacobsen, and as he revisited his journaling about her experiences and compared them to his own, he realized his high school years were a very formative time for him and probably for this girl as well. “The song ‘Maple Street,’ was written about her and deals with having painful memories that she’d try not to revisit, but they are there and they shaped her,” said Jacobsen. Additionally, Jacobsen said, “The title ‘Maple Street’ was chosen because it is one of the most common street names in the US [sic.] and therefore, something a lot of people could connect with in some way. Most people know of Maple Street somewhere.”
Due to the sweeping transition to online forms of media, Jacobsen no longer finds himself waiting until an album is complete and releasing it on CD or other forms of physical media containers. Instead, he has found a new way of doing his album releases through media platforms like YouTube and Spotify, where he can be a little more flexible with his release dates and combine music from different times in his writing stages.
This is what led to the inclusion of his final track on the album, a piano ballad titled “New Year’s Day” which Jacobsen said was written in 2006 and was added to this album because it fit the theme well. When talking about why he chose to include this specific track on the album, Jacobsen stated, “It is a good closing track because it ends with a resolution to not think about the past.”
Before Imprint, Jacobsen also released an album titled Expecting Different Results, which explored excitement and disappointment in unexpected results, and another album titled Potus, which explored “historical songs of fictional first-person narratives by several obscure or awful US Presidents, mainly from the 19th century.” Jacobsen’s albums can be heard via his YouTube channel @Davidwjmusic.
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