Monday, November 21, 2022

Tommy Ray! - "Every Way I'm Moving"

Tommy Ray!, whose music I last reviewed in May of last year, has a recent single out on the digital platforms that is well worth the attention of anyone who enjoys power pop. I have been an admirer of Ray's talents since the earliest days of this blog — which shockingly now date back to 11 years ago. As great of a band as The Cry! was, I'm finding the Tommy Ray! solo stuff to be at a whole other level. Ray has always had a flair for a memorable melody and a perfect hook. But lyrically, he's really hitting his stride with songs that absolutely nail what it's like to be a young adult struggling to figure out life. It was Paul Westerberg who famously wrote about missing "the whole first rung" on the ladder of success. Tommy Ray! seems to be living that life, and I continue to be blown away by his brutal honesty and keen self-awareness. He's never afraid to cut himself open in a song. The new single "Every Way I'm Moving" is typical of a Tommy Ray! song in the respect that it's a bitter pill to swallow lyrically yet so musically intoxicating with its sweet melodies and gorgeous guitars. If you've ever felt like you were going nowhere while everything was falling apart around you, you'll be feeling lyrics like these:

I can't stand the pain/
If you turn and walk away/
I got one food in the grave/
And the other's in the way/
Of every thing I'm doing/
And every way I'm moving 

Wow, that's powerful stuff. Elsewhere Ray ponders that "it's easy to laugh at a day's gone past when hindsight's in your face" before asking the musical question "What would you do if it was you stuck here in my place?" And that's spot-on. No matter how times many people assure you that things will ultimately get better, that's little solace when the short term is so hard to bear. While far from a "feelgood" song, "Every Way I'm Moving" is perfect pop in just about every respect. Every time I get to the end of the song, I want to play it again. Sometimes we don't need music to make us feel good. Sometimes we need it to make us feel less alone in the world. While "Every Way I'm Moving" is a song very personal to Tommy Ray!, it's sure to strike a chord with a whole lot of people.

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