ON THE RECORD
Faith in the Future
By Louis Tomlinson
Louis Tomlinson is an English singer and songwriter. He rose to fame as a member of the successful boyband One Direction. However, he has gained popularity as a solo artist too, with his debut solo single Just Hold On peaking at number two on the UK singles chart. Faith in the Future is Tomlinson’s second studio album, released independently through BMG. The opening song The Greatest starts with a drum piece, which makes you expect something rough and hard-edged. However, what follows is a soft rock number, setting the pace for the rest of the album. Bigger Than Me features acoustic guitars in the background as do many other tracks on the album, which, in general, has keyboards and other such elements that soften the edges. Written All Over Your Face levels up slightly with stringy electric guitar tunes and more elaborate drum beats. However, the texture and sound of Tomlinson’s voice keeps things ‘soft’ but intense.
The record in general has an introspective theme, underpinned by love and relationships, heartache and pain, overcoming and acceptance, personal growth and transformation, transition… The lyrics, seemingly rooted in honest life experiences and observations, complement the music, creating a strong work of art. The X Factor may have eliminated Tomlinson as a solo artist and thrown him into a boy band. But he has earned his rightful place among the solo talents since.
Only The Strong Survive
By Bruce Springsteen
Featuring an overriding theme of reminiscence, this has healing undertones, perfect for this time of the year. Wrapped in soul and R&B music, with background singers, horns, drums, bass, strings…
Nightshift offers a pleasant change in sound with rattles and percussion beats. While the music is uplifting, the lyrics seem to be about remembering a loved one who has passed. Despite the sombre theme, there’s a persistent hope [of meeting said loved one on the other side].
Let’s take a minute to ponder on some of the lyrics: referring to life after death as ‘nightshift’ in Nightshift and “Loneliness is the cloak you wear A deep shade of blue is always there” in The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Anymore – the imagery and metaphorical ability is impressive!
Even the blatantly love-themed songs have such an old-school feel – cases in point – When She Was My Girl and Hey, Western Union Man. “Western Union man, send a telegram to my baby. Send a box of candy too, maybe some flowers.” Pair songs like these with Bruce’s raspy, sandpaper voice and you have a love anthem to play on loop.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you will have heard of Bruce. Known for his poetic, socially conscious lyrics, the American singer and songwriter has released more than 21 studio albums and Only The Strong Survive is yet another feather in his cap.