As common and simple as it is, “por favor” is such an evocative expression. From Spanish, it translates to “please,” a word that suggests a need for something, a desire to make a change.
“‘Por favor’ was something I kept saying every day in the studio, and I got the other musicians saying it,” says Brett Dennen. “We were goofing around, and Dave Cobb, my producer, said it should be the title of my new record. I laughed it off at first, but then I really thought about it.”
“When you say please, you’re asking something to come into your life,” Dennen adds. “It might mean that you’re weak and need something to make you strong. But you’re admitting to some sort of weakness or some form of humility.”
That notion is at the heart of Por Favor, Dennen’s intimate and revealing new album that Elektra Records will release on May 20. Produced by Cobb, fresh from his Grammy-winning work with Chris Stapleton and Jason Isbell, the record strips Dennen to his core as a songwriter with nothing to hide.
“All these songs came from a time of sadness for lots of different reasons. They came at a point when I wasn’t feeling confident about myself,” he says. “When I’m not feeling confident, I’m not a nice person to be around. I don’t take care of my health, my relationships, my stuff, and it all cycles into a miserable place. And I have a really hard time admitting that I’m in that place.”
“What was I asking for with this album?” Dennen says. “I wanted to be a good person and feel good about myself again, but in a way that I knew it was OK to be sad. That’s part of life, the ups and downs. But with these songs, I want to make people feel good about themselves and about life through the good and bad.”