- Audio CD (7 Feb. 2011)
- Number of Discs: 1
- Format: CD
- Label: Decca (UMO)
- ASIN: B003VWR1WO
- Other Editions: Audio CD | MP3 Download
- Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 69,911 in CDs & Vinyl (See Top 100 in CDs & Vinyl)
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(2011/VERVE) 11 tracks (39:24)
Looking For A Girl
Over And Over
Take Me Back Again
Tell Me What You Want
The Next One
Take Care Of Yourself
The One I Can't Have
Gotta Have Someone
Bella is Teddy Thompson's fifth album, and the hope this time must be that it will stir the kind of commercial success that his particular kind of finely-honed melodic folk-pop surely warrants. After all, a man cannot live by critical acclaim alone.
And so the controls seem to have been firmly set for the heart of the daytime radio mainstream. At times the mood here seems in danger of growing over-buoyant – opener Looking for a Girl, in which our hero lists the qualities of his ideal woman (with, one hopes, one eyebrow raised) is so radio-friendly it could veer into Shania Twain territory, were it not tempered by a rather gutsy guitar solo.
But the songs here have an essential warmth that it is hard to resist; they have a heart and a drive to them as they examine the dog-eared topic of love – the want of it, the lack of it, the glimpse of it. He's perhaps at his best on the delicate tale of Delilah, or as a spatting lover on Tell Me What You Want – a duet with Jenni Muldaur, in which their warring voices end in a pleasing tangle.
Much of the appeal here lies in Thompson's voice, a rich, heated thing, capable of firing up even the simplest lyric – as well as reaching a sweet, soaring falsetto on numbers such as the sumptuous Take Me Back Again. The other delight, as on Thompson's previous albums, is his spirit of great musical adventure – there's folk, of course (as the son of Linda and Richard Thompson, one would expect no less), but also a keen pop ear, an evident love for the pace of 50s and 60s tunes, for tones that could have been stolen from the hands of Roy Orbison.
You can't help but feel that Teddy Thompson is a man who knows how to build a song. Every one of the 11 tracks here feels impeccably structured, plotted, weighted, watertight. But there is a delight here too, the sheer pleasure of sploshing about in the musical depths, that brings a heart-winning charm to this record.
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Top Customer Reviews
It was interesting to follow advance reviews of this album. By and large there was a collective appreciation of Thompson's considerable talent and a feeling that this work would be his most successful. Most mention the parental pedigree and that must matter, but I see this as producing the rich musical environment of his growing up rather than some genetically transferred expertise. Just listen to the brilliant duet Teddy does with dad Richard on 'Persuasion' [not this album] and the distinctiveness of the vocals is crystal clear, and moving.
Over four previous albums Thomson has established a poised heart-on-sleeve and cheeky-chappy approach to songwriting, though the Country focused Upfront and Down Low is less so in this respect. I mention this because his way with words matters. There are couplets upon couplets of clever rhymes one could celebrate, but I think the storytelling bristles with sincerity as much as it does with wit.
Another reason I mention this is because the main tinge of criticism of Bella has been for some of its lyrics, for example of the song 'Looking for a Girl'. The lyric to exemplify this is 'I'm looking for a girl who's good in bed/But knows when it's time to knock it on the head'. I have to assume the criticism is with its dismissive tone, yet the song is more appalling than this as it progresses in the establishment of a manifesto for girlfriend criteria, but that appallingness is surely the bombast of the joke.Read more ›
But then to hear Teddy cruise through the stunning 'Delilah' is to forgive all.
Young Danny, York ,UK.
year as part of his Father Richard's curatorship of The Royal
Festival Hall 'Meltdown' 2010. It was a great gig. Mr Thompson
The Younger has grown in confidence as a performer. Funny,
charming, the perfect host for a perfect musical evening.
It's good to have 'Bella' finally out there in the listening world.
His 2008 release 'A Piece Of What You Need' was a bouncy barrel
of fun. A collection of eleven shiny songs with an equally high-gloss
production. With this new project the sound has a nicely raw edge,
a sense of immediacy and an even greater sense that Mr Thompson's
heart is wholly in it. (Mrs Wolf likes his new whiskery look too!)
Once again there are eleven compositions in the can and I can assure
you with confidence that there's not a bad one in the bunch (arguably
it contains his finest so-far : the totally wonderful 'Over and Over'!)
Joining Mr Thompson are David Kahne on guitar and keyboards (Mr Kahne
also produces); Daniel Mintseris on keyboards; Jeff Hill on bass and
Ethan Eubanks seated behind the drum-kit. They play like a real band!
Among the many delights on offer are the gorgeous 'Take Me Back Again',
with its luminous string arrangement; the delicate and haunting melody
of 'Home', which finds Mr Thompson considering the pros and cons of
family life with unsentimental good humour; 'Delilah' a Wild West
love song if ever there was one, full of whistful longing and regret
and the perfectly splendid laconic vocal performance of 'Take Care Of
Yourself' a lilting country(ish) arrangement which might well have had
the spirit of Roy Orbison smiling at our hero from the wings!
Mr Thompson goes from strength to strength. 'Bella' is his strongest
and most distinctive recording. It's a big bundle of joy in fact!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Sorry Teddy, huge fan but not of this CD, played it once and its going back in its case forever. Love Up Front/Down Low & A Piece of what you need, both brilliant, much prefer his... Read morePublished 4 months ago by Marywyn
Teddy Thompson delivers yet again. Magnificent vocal performances on well crafted songs with a terrific band.Published 21 months ago by Richard
What can you say about this guy he's got the best voice going he writes great and choose's great covers, gets into your soul.Published on 21 May 2015 by Max Coburn
awful - not like his Transatlantic Sessions materialPublished on 19 July 2014 by MR ANDREW MACFARLANE
I just love Teddy Thompson's music and this album is superb! The more you listen to it, the more you love it. There are so many really good tracks that I can't pick a favourite. Read morePublished on 22 May 2014 by Mrs. Barbara Budge