The alternative/indiepop singer songwriter Jakob has opened up to us in these strange, isolated times. Jakob’s latest single, an unrequited love letter to his audience called “Rocket Science”, crafts this narrative in a slow R&B, sometimes spoken-word style. This marks a departure in genre from his acoustic based, cheerier first album There Was Nothing, released in 2019.
“Soft bubbly synths and hi hats create an aura of smooth hip-hop swagger”
The song begins in what sounds like a subway tunnel, a decidedly urban scene. The piano chords kick in and the beat drops into the first verse. Soft bubbly synths and hi hats create an aura of smooth hip-hop swagger which surrounds Jakob’s soft, peculiar voice. Jakob describes the struggle of the artist, to be truly listened to, rather than simply be heard. He recounts those who believe in him for the listener: “I look to my mom, she knows that I’m singing and I look to my friends, they know it’s the truth”. Those just starting out a creative venture can relate Jakob’s words; To having those around you be your first audience. It’s a vulnerable sentiment too seldom expressed.
The gentle piano chords accompanied only by gospel style vocals in the chorus take the listener through Jakob’s echo chamber of hope, want, and disappointment. “Rocket Science” is a turning point in Jakob’s songwriting towards a darker, more mature style. The listener gets the sense that he’s left behind the acoustic guitar based, upbeat nostalgia of There Was Nothing and is moving forward to more troublesome issues of insecurity and loneliness. In this vain, he does a good job.
“The gentle piano chords accompanied only by gospel style vocals in the chorus take the listener through Jakob’s echo chamber of hope, want, and disappointment.”
In his own words, the song has a different meaning: “that making music is no art – no rocket science – but that it’s just something some people do”. Perhaps he is right. I’m rather inclined to say that learning how to write new kinds of songs, bettering oneself musically is the hard work that not everyone is inclined to – just like years it takes to learn how to do rocket science.