This was my introduction to David Stephenson. Fortunately, he's neither the British rugby player nor is he a politician and member of the Klu Klux Klan - thankfully Wikipedia cleared this up for me! Instead, this David Stephenson is an Oregon musician in the post-punk/indie style and you can find him on MySpace along with his dog.

It's All in Your Head runs about 47 minutes and offers sixteen tracks, each one twisting into a slightly different style but none in an overly jarring way. You're not in for a bludgeoning that plenty of bands hand out where their whole record seems to be built to support a couple singles. Stephenson obviously worked on each song to get it into its own personal best and that's an effort I feel the listener's truly going to appreciate.

I'm not going to single out every song on this album since there are so many, but I'd like to point to a few I particularly enjoyed. There's Julie, a song that's named after a girl. Usually this is a bad sign for me, as it tends to lead to yearning, goofy serenades or adolescent mantras of hate. However, in this instance we get a song that actually feels as if the title references a real girl and trials of a relationship with her. It's painfully raw in places, self-effacing and comes out genuine the whole way through.

In the song Snag we get a tune that hints at the flavor of the ever popular Steve Miller Band and in Jimmy Wilhelm, it reminds me of popping some crazy downer pills (that I've never taken, of course) and then trying to listen to an album. What I'm getting at is David Stephenson's vocal range tops many other singers out there and he's able to create entirely different atmospheres for different songs. You've got to admire a guy who can make one song feel distinctly reminiscent of Johnny Cash and turn around to twist his voice so it comes off an awful lot like Marilyn Manson. Yes, I said Marilyn Manson! I'd be curious to know if anyone else recognized that because both Hello and Sexy Universe give me major 'Hollywood' era flashbacks.

To me the stars of this album are Dear Mr. Chapman and Sexy Universe. The Mr. Chapman happens to be Mark David Chapman, the guy who claims God told him to blow John Lennon away. In this song, Stephenson lets rip with a stream of emotional ink that he uses to spell out exactly how he'd prefer to avenge the death of one of pop music's better philosophers. Sexy Universe, on the other hand, begs radio play because I don't believe I've heard such a strong offering from an indie musician in terms of subversion. You absolutely cannot help but love this song!

Now, I'd not really expected to love this album nor really like it. I figured I'd be getting another helping of bland indie rock that's pretty much the reason that indie rock sucks. David Stephenson went above and beyond the call of duty to churn out a very likable, accessible and yet meaningful record here that I definitely recommend. You get what you put in when it comes to producing music and so I think Mr. Stephenson can expect to sell a couple more gold albums' worth of It's All in Your Head.

You can find the album over at a personal favorite music store of mine,! Because after all, as Lavar Burton always told us, "You don't have to take my word for it..."

Lyrics submitted by mike

David Stephenson - It's All In Your Head song meanings
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