Review: "Long Way Down" - Tom Odell

Hey guys,
I was honored to be one of the pre-listeners of Tom Odell's long awaited debut album "Long Way Down" to review it on house in the sand.

As the album hits stores in Germany today it's my time to tell you what I think about it.

Tom Odell, the singer/songwriter/piano man, Brits Critics' Choice Award winner and hyped newcomer from Chichester (UK) has been into music since he was a kid and got to learn how to play the piano.
At the young age of just 13 years the multi-talent started writing own songs.
After playing at countless open mics, moving to London and being in a band called Tom and the Tides, he was finally discovered and got signed at ITNO Records (founded by pop star Lily Cooper).

After delaying the album release by two months it now is finally here!

The long player consists of 10 songs which offer you a listening pleasure of around 36 minutes. Similar as Tom's hit single "Another Love" the whole album is about love and heartbreak. 

Track list:
1) Grow Old With Me
2) Hold Me 
3) Another Love
4) I Know
5) Sense
6) Can't Pretend
7) Till I Lost
8) Supposed To Be
9) Long Way Down
10) Sirens

Here is my track by track review:

Oddly the oldest song on the album. 
"I spent Christmas with my grandparents. I sat on the bed on my own, looking at the sheets and that's when the lyric came up. ("I'll pull the sheets when it's cold on your feet. Could you fall back to sleep every time?") And for me, once I had that lyric the whole song made sense to me.", that's what Odell says about the track.
Simple percussion leading into a catchy, up beat rhythm. Perfect opening for the album.

Tom's counting at the very beginning gives you the feeling of being at one of his shows. Following is a up beat song with everything you could wish for: raspy as well as higher sung notes, vigorous piano sounds, electric guitar elements and choir inspired background vocals.
After a very calm bridge the song ends with a grand finale.

Most of you probably already heard this one.
The almost catchy, but not in a "simple lyrics pop song way", melody, the vulnerability in Tom's voice and the mysterious backing vocals create a perfect contrast which makes the song so special and memorable.

We probably all can relate to this situation: you know something is over but you can't let it go and keep on trying.
Verse 2 shows off some detailed writing "the way hair curls in the rain, the little lines that right your face, all the winter nights you'd come and stay, the way you hit me when you wanna fight,..."
This song will most likely get stuck in your brain.

Very passionate and beautiful ballad with its focus on piano and vocals.
Again you can hear the emotions in Tom's voice very clearly.
The songs end with a 58 seconds piano instrumental which is only accompanied by some calm humming.

On this track Mr Odell shows how well he's able to control his voice and how he knows how to impress with incredibly long notes.  
The song has got a darker feeling to it which is probably caused by the choir inspired backings and the energetic piano chords. 

Again, very detailed and portraying lyrics. Up beat song with impressive vocals. Probably my personal favourite.

If Odell was a painter this song would show a Van Gogh like painting that captures heartbreak. 
Tom's voice draws the story line and the backing vocals paint the details.
It's kind of like watching a music video, you can see the story.

The title track of the album. Another ballad, another beautifully written song. 
Similar to "Sense" because it's piano and vocals based too but the feeling of the song is a bit lighter.

The finale track which leaves you cheering for more.
Just another song showing what Odell has got to offer: fantastic lyrics, incredible composing skills and let's not forget the voice. Yeah, let's never forget about that.

Not only is Tom an incredible live performer but also does he know how to put the live feeling on a record.

Even though the album is piano based the variety of sounds is big enough to get satisfied no matter what mood you're in. 
It's not too much of everything but definitely not too little either.

It's the passion, honesty and energy this album radiates that makes it special and also one of the best albums I've heard in 2013 so far.

Tom Odell, definitely a musician to keep your eyes (and most importantly, your ears) on.
He's going to support the Rolling Stones in July for a reason...

Watch the video of Tom performing "Another Love" live.


Buy the album: iTunes | amazon | fan shop
Previous Tom Odell posts on HITS: concert review | tour tip
Tom Odell: twitter | facebook | blog

I hope you enjoyed this review and are now off to go and buy / pre-order "Long Way Down". 

Vanessa x
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images 1+2: press kit
source quote "Grow Old With Me": 


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