Long Way Down
Back in his native England, Tom Odell received an infamously scathing review from NME that rated his debut album Long Way Down a zero. Also this year, he was invited to open for The Rolling Stones. Take opinions as you will, but I’m going to trust Mick on this one.
Odell is part of a crop of infuriatingly talented young Brits taking the world by storm. His music is piano-driven, but that makes it anything but boring. At times there are hints of barroom frenzy. “Grow Old With Me” begins in a measured manner, for instance, but as Odell grows more adamant, the melody begins to slip and his vocals grow more strained. Likewise, his heartbreak comes out through nearly shouted lyrics on “I Know.”
However, that doesn’t mean that the whole album is just bellowed angst. “Sense” starts out with very little instrumentation, highlighting Odell’s delicate voice as he promises to shut his eyes and “lose [himself] in teenage lies.” Also sparse is the appropriately gloomy “I Think It’s Going To Rain Today.” Even if the lyrics are isolated and tragic, the beauty of the haunting instrumentation is a joyous thing. As far as debuts go, this is a solid collection and the start of something quite special indeed.