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Thursday, July 28, 2011

Tom Goss - Turn It Around

Tom Goss - Turn It Around
2011, Tom Goss

Washington, D.C. singer-songwriter Tom Goss is having a pretty good year.  Recently married to his partner of five years, Goss released a new album, Turn It Around in 2011 inspired by romance and nostalgia.  In the process he had one of his songs, "All I Wanted", featured in the May 25, 2011 season finale of the show Cougar Town.  The Wisconsin native and one time Catholic seminarian explores politics, romance and issues of faith in an intriguing and surprisingly upbeat effort.

Turn It Around opens with "It's All Over", a solid, guitar-driven rocker that's decent enough but kicks things off on a somewhat slow note.  "Shady Dell" is a likeable piece of angular pop that captures the speed of change in the lives of children.  It's an intriguing and insightful number; intelligent but with a distinctive pop appeal.  "Spaces Unseen" is a pensive ballad that flows better musically than it does lyrically.  Goss' subtle arrangement and guitar work impress.

"Turn It Around" might be one of the catchiest songs we've heard thus far in 2011, and comes with a positive message.  You'll find yourself wanting to get up and dance, and humming along while you do.  "Is It Too Early?" is a well-intended love song exploring how early is too early to say those three words.  Unfortunately the song falls a bit flat, playing more like the hopeless perseveration of a lovelorn teenager than an attempt to understand love.  Stewart Lewis helps out on vocals this time around.  "Make Believe" is an infectious invitation to a future of romance and adventure; solid and appealing but perhaps lacking a vibrant sense that would make it more convincing.

""Two Steps From You" is a somewhat bland love ballad that just doesn't soar.  This trend is evident more and more throughout Turn It Around; with Goss struggling on the ballads to maintain the same sense of edge and energy that he does on the more upbeat material.  "All I Ever Wanted is a catchy pop gem about the power of hope and the changeability of circumstance; an appealing listen that may well become a fan favorite.  Goss closes out with a trio of solid, yet unremarkable tracks in "You Came Along", "Seems Like Yesterday" and "You Know That I Love You". 

It's obvious that ballads aren't going to have the same external energy as rockers; however the energy that goes into the song should not change.  Goss manages to infuse the upbeat tracks on Turn It Around with an infectious energy that engages listeners.  Unfortunately the ballads seemingly find Goss in his own reverie, and the connection gets lost along the way.  Turn It Around is obviously inspired by romantic love, which is never a bad thing.  But Goss gets caught up in his emotion the way a kid in a diary might; and his commitment and passion the ballads can become lost on listeners, just as the circular ruminations of the young in love might in a diary.  The words are there, but the passion simply doesn't translate in palpable terms.

Rating: 2.5 Stars (Out of 5)

Learn more about Tom Goss at or  Turn It Around is available from as a CD or Download.  The album is also available via iTunes.

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