Tom Odell | Songs From Another Love (RCA)

cd tom odellAs Rachel Maddow would say, “Best new thing in the world.”




I hate EPs. Absolutely hate them. I think they should be outlawed. It’s like enjoying the perfect meal, only to have the plate whisked away before you’re halfway finished. Or immersing yourself in a movie that is oh, so good, but the projector breaks halfway through and you’re left missing the characters and knowing how it all ends.

That’s how I feel with Tom Odell’s Songs From Another Love. It’s the most beautiful collection of four songs you’ll hear this year. Lead track—and first single—“Another Love” showcases Odell’s versatile voice and wise-beyond-his-years lyrics (the young Brit is just 22, though you’d never guess by his old soul vocals). After a delicate piano intro, Odell dips right in, sharing his heart’s dilemma: It’s been broken before, and he’s not sure it will beat again: “And I want to kiss you, make you feel all right/ I’m just so tired to share my nights/ I want to cry and I want to love/ but all my tears have been used up/ on another love.” Odell’s voice is so rich and so versatile, it’s practically timeless.

“Can’t Pretend” suggests an Adele-like perfection, serving as proof that the young Brit belongs among the best of them. “I want to fight but I can’t contend/ I guess that’s love, I can’t pretend,” he reveals before some gentle “oh oh”s and a swelling of sound, matched beautifully by his yearning vocals. All all-out jam next presents itself by way of “Hold Me”; although the vocals are undoubtedly his, at times Odell channels Black 47’s Larry Kirwan when not slipping into falsetto.

Unfortunately, the last track comes all too soon, making “Sense” both beautiful and bittersweet. Once again, mature lyrics are the feast du jour, with the singer offering “Hard to know/ maybe if I skim the stone/ walk a different way back home/ it would all make sense.” Odell’s confusion and yearning is our gain; selfishly, we don’t want him to find his way too soon, as the wondering and wandering make for heartbreakingly beautiful music.

Odell made history last year, becoming the first male vocalist to win the BRIT Critics’ Choice Award; he also made the shortlist in the BBC Sound Poll of 2013. Tom Odell deserves to be this year’s Adele: a British import upon whom people of all ages and listening styles can agree. Presumably, with his deserved success will come more music—lots of it. A+ | Laura Hamlett

RIYL: Adele, Damien Rice, Regina Spektor, Conor Oberst

About Laura Hamlett 467 Articles
Laura Hamlett is the Managing Editor of PLAYBACK:stl. In a past life, she was also a music publicist and band manager. Besides music, books, and other forms of popular culture, she's a fan of the psychology behind true crime and violent criminals. Ask her about mass murder...if you dare.

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