“Chilled-out entertainer” David Brent has taken an alternative career route post-redundancy from paper company Wernham Hogg in Slough, deciding to release an album.
Life on the Road, Brent’s debut in the music industry features 20 songs, rich with the emotional rigour of a reversing dump truck with no tires on.
It seems apt to begin this review with the surrogate song itself. In which it seems Brent is seemingly recollecting a memory of recovering a “pretty girl” on “freeway nine”, recollections that become a recurrent theme in the album. The chorus itself is agonisingly catchy, so much so that TV platform Freeview has decided to use it in their latest advert campaign. Painful.
Lady gypsy follows on with the theme of remembrance. Here we see a ‘mid-40s’ Brent describe his 18-year old self strolling through Whitley Wood, a suburb south of Reading. During this jaunt he transpires with the ‘lady gypsy’ before breaking into chorus explaining his love for this lady whose name he had “forgot”, true romance.
Romance continues the further you delve into the album, with Brent’s home town of ‘Slough’ having a whole track dedicated to it. With its “equidistance between London and Reading” Brentmister general’s argument is clear throughout the song, to give his hometown the tribute it deserves. How successful an argument he proposes is up for debate, with many, if taking the line literally, would agree that anything more convenient than a “Tesco express” is in fact very convenient.
Brent balances life as a music artist with sales ‘repping’ for toilet supply firm Lavichem, leads to a song describing the life of travelling to fulfil such a role. “Life on the Road”, although the shortest of his tracks, Brent gets his point across quickly in what feels like one big chorus. The emphasis on this song is the fast paced nature of such a career, with its short syntax and overall song length, fulfils this in textbook fashion.
Brent additionally attempts to provide solutions to some of the issues we face in the modern world today. “Please Don’t make Fun Of The Disabled”, although rather scruffily worded, is an obvious ploy from Brent to end the discrimination that is felt by the disabled community today. Something that perhaps is not as effectively portrayed in song form, but that is an argument for another day.
“Equality Street” is the second of the ‘anti-discriminatory’ vocals Brent includes in the debut record. Dom Johnson features in a song that aims to portray a ‘tune of love’ for everyone, with it originally being recorded for Comic Relief. Reggae seems to be the genre of choice in this song, which, unsurprisingly, Brent has not tried to reproduce since. Shame.
Seen as we are now in December, it feels appropriate to end the review with Brent’s own attempt at a Christmas song. “Don’t Cry It’s Christmas”, although not making any major moves in the charts so far, would not surprise me if it were to perhaps make a late charge into the Christmas chart, though, its rather morbid take on Christmas may have somewhat ruined any chance it may have ever had.
What does this album offer? Well, from reggae to light rock to a now popular classic on British advertising, David Brent’s ‘Life On The Road’ seems to offer just what the name suggests, a compilation of songs spanning from a vast array of genres and types. On a more serious note, it, in my opinion, may indicate the rather lost nature of Brent himself, since losing his job as manager at Wernham Hogg Paper Company.
Last modified: 9th December 2019