Tom Dice – Teardrops

Who can forget Tom Dice as he stood up there on the stage and sang his heart out for Belgium in this year’s Eurovision Song Contest? His entry Me And My Guitar won the heart of many Europeans and this album from him might just do the same.

Fans of his entry are definitely in for a treat with this, his first studio outing. Teardrops opens with the short and sweet Start Without The Ending, which at 1’01 comes in as the shortest track on the album. Very folksy and acoustic, it’s over before it gets going really; too short to have a chorus or a bridge, but pretty enough to listen to.

The best known track of the album without a doubt, Me And My Guitar, will for me remain one of the highlights of this year’s contest – a very honest, stripped down song with a proper melody like they used to be made. So refreshing and deserving of it’s success. Love it when the tempo speeds up mid song – you get two for the price of one, here. Me And My Guitar can’t really be classed as a ballad or an uptempo number either, but something in between. Lucy is another jangly little ditty heavily laden with guitar and for me one of the highlights of the album. Although it’s a love song, Tom manages to avoid falling into the trap of writing something ridden with cliché and sacharine sweet, Lucy just leaves me feeling very warm. Aw.

Too Late ventures over from the folksy to a more rockier feel. This effort packs plenty of punch, and shows that Tom is more than capable at trying his hand at different music genres with aplomb. A Soldier For His Country begins with the disturbing sounds of soldiers in action and gunfire in the background as is probably heard all too often both in Iraq and Afghanistan. It certainly starts dramatically enough, and is led by a mournful cello. Beautifully written, it conveys the thoughts that go through a soldier’s mind when in service. Hard to determine whether this is a tribute or a protest song, but it is striking, nonetheless.

On Carrying Our Burden, Tom crosses over into rock territory once more. Pleasant enough, the mood on this track is slightly darker than the rest of the album, showing yet another side to Tom’s versatile voice. Murderer is an odd title for a track, but is another rockier effort which is more upbeat than the rest of the album. Having said that, it didn’t really do anything for me, and in my opinion was the album’s weakest moment. Couldn’t get my head around the text either – although the text was intelligible, the meaning was lost on me completely. Still not a bad effort tunewise, though.

Why is another handsomely melodic song dealing with the theme of love and separation. Why puts Tom’s voice more to the test than, say, Me And My Guitar and even has a delicious electric guitar solo mid-song! One of the standout tracks on Teardrops. Forbidden Love begins quite sinister and gloomy, then threatens to break out into a Western twang. Much rawer than most of the other offerings on the album, there’s something decidedly sexy about the track – there’s a previously unseen and unheard capability in Tom’s voice and the breathy, husky finish is very fetching indeed. Always And Forever starts off with pouring rain and thunderstorm effects and judging by the title, threatened to be a sickly sweet affair. Just goes to show that you shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover. Refreshingly different, but holds no vocal challenges or surprises.

Broken is yet another track with a rougher edge and a kind of student sound. The song begins with a blazing electric intro and deals with the theme of an unexpected break up; slighly reminiscent of Gavin DeGraw. My Life Is Worth More Than You is the closing line, telling us that he’s maybe ready to move on. Miss Perfect is a wistful, melancholic number which builds into a blistering attack on Tom’s ex, which was obviously quite cathartic for Mr. Dice, as he becomes pretty empassioned and even sings the f word! Very intense and very personal, a worthy conrtibution to the album. Oooooh. Tom is on dangerously thin ice here, choosing to cover her majesty Leona’s Bleeding Love, the song which he first released following his win in the Belgian X Factor. Admittedly, I was slightly sceptic before having listened to his version, but in all fairness, he does a good job, pretty much making it his own, giving it the Tom Dice stamp. Having said that, I still prefer Leona’s version though.

The track listing for Teardrops is as follows:

Start Without The Ending
Me And My Guitar
Too Late
A Soldier For His Country
Carrying Our Burden
Forbidden Love
Always and Forever
Miss Perfect
Bleeding Love

All in all a very impressive first effort, very confident and self assured, where, surprisingly enough, Tom manages to make the leap from talent show hopeful to fully fledged performer. More than capable of standing on his own two feet. I for one thought Me And My Guitar deserved better than sixth place and with Teardrops, Tom Dice serves up much heartfelt material and proves that he’s so much more than just a one hit wonder.

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