Heartbreaker Please, released on May 29th, is Teddy Thompson’s sixth album. As you might expect from the title, it’s an album about relationship break up. While some of the music is Thompson’s natural sadder, slower style, he has deliberately written up-tempo songs, “I tried to make an effort here to set some of the misery to a nice beat! Let the listener bop their heads while they weep”.
The album opens with ‘Why Wait’. “If you’re just going to leave me in the end/Why wait for you to break my heart” is one of the cheerier couplets, but the song is driven by Memphis horns and it bops along redemptively. The album bounces into ‘At A Light’ a you’re-going-to-miss-me-when-I’m-gone track – except she didn’t. The title track, in the link below, has an appropriately country-ish tinge to a powerful break-up song.
‘Brand New’ takes us into the rebuild: new car, new girl, “I just wanna have fun”. Yep, I’ve been there as well. Thompson sets it to a slow beat; it’s a quiet song, ideal for the moments we rebuild the heart, whatever face we put on the surface. ‘What Now’ captures the mash of emotions and has the album’s best line “I love living on my own/but I can’t afford the outgoings”. While it’s literally true for Thompson, living in a New York apartment, it’s also a metaphorical gem.
‘No Idea’ is over five minutes long, an emotional nadir to the album. I mention the length because Thompson’s song writing is at heart drawn from the principles of song writers in the fifties and sixties, “I try to be succinct and witty, but also cut to the heart in a matter of two or three minutes”. Which is what he does on ‘Record Player’ with its doo wop backing vocals. The emotional rebuild continues with ‘Take Me Away’, a string quartet filling out a waltz about new beginnings, and then moves into ‘It’s Not Easy’ with an Eddie Cochran inspired rockabilly beat, “Every forward step is followed by a slide…. it’s not easy”. ‘Move At Speed’ is the final track, reflecting on the roller-coaster heartbreak.
The more I’ve listened the more I’ve loved the album, the progression of the emotions set to a set of three minute songs either side of ‘No Idea’. It’s an album, as Thompson notes on his website, of sadness, hope, humour, a beat and, perhaps most importantly, learning: “Don’t date an actor”.
Artist’s website: https://www.teddythompson.net
‘Heartbreaker Please’ – official video: