New York is a mecca for the entertainment industry. It has any and everything one could ask for, from superb plays to awesome music. Out of the rubble of this entertainment world has emerged a fine music artist, storyteller, and even a writer of his first novel. His name is Tommy Wallach and he has an excellent album out that will turn some heads in the right direction. It is his second album, titled I Meant It To Be Sweet.
Sweet as it is in this sublime work for this Brooklyn based writer and musician. Tommy’s music is filled with many surprises and takes you in many directions. To examine Tommy’s work collectivity, at times this writer felt he was looking through a keyhole while not having enough information or understanding his content as complete work. However, while trying not to read so much into someone’s work, it is clear that Tommy Wallach has a bright future ahead of him as a singer/songwriter. Regardless of the content or true to life meaning, his album, I Meant It To Be Sweet, is a collection of work that is nicely done music that speaks to this writer as truth, honesty to others, and honesty to one’s self. This is Tommy Wallach and he has some things to say in his new album.
Tommy opens with an interesting piece with a title that gets your attention, “Cold As Christ.” It has a very smooth intro that sounds a little sarcastic at first especially when thinking of the title. In the beginning I could not help but wonder where the song was taking me. However, it’s not long that one realizes what he is saying and what the message of the song is. In the first stanza, he sings, “I bet Christ must have seemed cold… to truly love everyone.” At first, his words seem to sound like a contradiction. However, quickly in the number he draws a parallel to his own relationship, wanting to be honest with someone and most important, honest with himself. In order to truly love someone, we need to be objective, honest, and speak the truth to be caring and to love. I love the lines, “my heart rewrites the truth,” speaking the truth from his heart. But in reality, there are “some lies for you, more for myself,” speaking what comes from his mouth. His heart and mouth are not in this together. In order to love, we need to appear somewhat cold to truly love someone. It’s almost as if we don’t speak from the heart now, we pay later. It is important throughout the song, Tommy is stressing over and over, “oh, I am here.” Revealing your heart to someone but stressing you are always here for them is an aspect of unconditional love. I get it now what he means as, “Cold as Christ.”
Another piece that I thought was really cool is “To Keep you Dancing.” I love the fast paced guitar with the horns in the background. This piece was well produced. There is also a nice guitar solo sounding a bit rockabilly at times. This song might have some hidden meanings to it. When dancing, we usually end up in the same place where we started. In this relational dance, we are not sure if our guy is looking for romance or if he wants to keep her dancing, keeping up with the distraction. Tommy did a nice job with this piece, he has a lot to say in his music, and “To Keep You Dancing” is one example. This song draws from the album title, I Meant It To Be Sweet.
“The Charade of the Encore” is another piece that got attention. This is a very catchy tune with a contemporary country sound to it. In the beginning, we think he is poking fun at himself and his talents. However, we soon realize the song has a totally different meaning dealing with relationships, an “audience of one.” It’s obvious Tommy is a gifted writer. “So tell me that you hate my guts.” “And watch me drive away.” “My audience of one, say “Come back, we’re not done.” Just give him the “applause” as he writes throughout the number and he will be back. I love the metaphoric flavor to this song. There is a lot of truth in what he is singing here.
Finally, I have to comment on one more piece. Tommy is very creative with “Whose Heart Are You Breaking Tonight?” Honestly, I laughed while listening to this piece. This is a number being more “tongue in cheek” as it sounded it was performed by a patient in a mental health ward. I could not help but think of “Ballad of Dwight Fry.” Tommy’s piece is much more subtle at times, and he keeps you guessing throughout the piece wondering if the character is serious or just venting his thoughts. It can be “creepy” at times, but in a dark comical style as the song leads you musically.
As I have said, Tommy Wallach is a gifted writer. His words are filled with surprises as he leads you in many different directions. When listening to the entire album from beginning to end, I could not help but think of I Meant It To Be Sweet as a book with each song being a chapter. Honestly, if his album is more of a book with a plot and theme, I have to feel there is much more meaning in his songs than meets the eye. Currently, he has a book coming out in 2015, titled We All Looked Up. It is obvious he is an excellent writer regardless of the genre or format. Whatever the style or way, this writer feels Tommy knows what he is doing and how it is presented to the public in his storytelling style. He is someone who I feel as time passes, we will hear more of him in different ways.
This is Tommy Wallach, and his new album is I Meant It To Be Sweet.