Ahead of his sixth album, 2020, English balladeer extraordinaire Richard Dawson has released the single Jogging. The typically stripped down instrumental sounds are set aside here, as Dawson “goes electric” for this number. The delightful signature twang from his guitar (a cheap model with nylon strings he’s used for years) can be heard ringing out through the din, and the rhythm section provides a big oomph to the tune.
The lyrics are a tale of the current U.K. Residents are wracked with anxiety about what the hell is happening to their fair country, and how ordinary citizens’ livelihoods are suffering. The protagonist has taken a voluntary redundancy, and confesses, “the days drain away scouring eBay, or looking at houses on Zoopla [U.K. real estate site] at houses where I’ll never live.” Dawson peppers his lyrics with wry observations of the minutiae of everyday life, and in this way delivers a larger political message convincingly through the experience of normal working class people.
The chorus, with its vocoder refrain of just “jogging” with a wall of sound and even some swelling strings behind it captures the temporary endorphin release that jogging provides when nothing else seems to work for the down-and-out narrator, a humorous twist that really makes the track. Dawson’s strong voice delivers the tale in rich and resonant tones, reasserting himself as one of the best contemporary folk voices out there today.
Given the stylistic departure with Jogging here, and a history of changing his sound up, 2020 promises to be an intriguing release.