David Roth

Think Twice

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David Roth occupies the musical ground where folksingers, confessional poets, and protest singers meet. He's comfortable jumping from Rosa Parks' famous bus ride to childhood memories of Halloween; from one child overcoming his fear to make friends with a bully to the resilience of the U.S. following 9-11. Roth's love of storytelling ties all of these disparate elements together into a happy package with the hopeful message that love can overcome ignorance, violence, and fear. The songs on Think Twice work best when Roth sticks to less descriptive material and fills out the arrangement with extra vocalists. On the opener, "Round and Round," he's joined by Cindy Mangsen and Sloan Wainwright for a lovely vocal rendition of the simple lyrics, "Round and round the earth is turning, turning onto morning, then from morning round to night." The bigger production of "Seven Wonders" turns the song into an inspired bit of nonsense with a catchy chorus supported vocally by Wainwright and Penny Nichols. Roth spends most of his time delving into social issues and politics, and since he's a folksinger, he's naturally a liberal. It's not too big of a surprise, then, when he writes songs like "Rose and the Three K's" -- as in Rosa Parks and the Klu Klux Klan -- and "Gush or Bore." The messages here are predictable -- Rosa Parks was a hero; 2000s election was really screwed up -- and are mostly good for making liberals feel good for the duration of the song. While Think Twice will undoubtedly bolster up depressed liberals in the post-millennium, the singer/songwriter crowd may find Roth's message a bit labored.

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