Wednesday, February 16, 2022

‘Plaza’ compares different viewpoints of love as the most abstract yet intense emotion

Thom Southern takes the world of indie music by storm in his new album filled with incredibly well-thought-out and produced songs.

The album ‘Plaza’, released 11th February this year, supersedes any other with its array of genres, enthralling instrumentals, and emotional lyrics.

The artist, originally from the beautiful city of Belfast in Ireland, has been taking the time to complete and release this album since the end of last year, and it is safe to say that he has set the bar incredibly high for any other artist producing music in 2022. 

The album consists of 10 songs, from ‘Tongue Tied’ to ‘Suzanne I'm Sorry’, some of which have been pre-released to fans as singles prior to the album’s debut. Beginning the album with the upbeat, positive track ‘Tongue Tied’ before following it with ‘She’s So Precious’, Southern talks about feeling love’s presence before one can even be aware of it and the awkwardness that accompanies the unknown when it comes to love, as well as touching on the realities of unequal and toxic relationships. This contrast immediately defines the flexibility and versatility of love between humanity. Progressing to the next tracks ‘Atmosphere’ and ‘Slumber City’, Southern hits listeners with a less chaotic and upbeat tempo, ensuring the feeling of love’s flexibility is furthered in this sudden change. ‘Atmosphere’ has a calm melody and lyrics of love’s sweetness and how the closeness of two people can make you “feel more real”. Followed by a shorter song with largely absent vocals, the idea of peace within the company of the love of others shines through.

The first half of the album closes with the song ‘Hypocritical Shoes’, a song which features the lyrics “Can’t let you stab me in the back”. By employing the repetition of this lyric, Southern really makes his point of perceiving a relationship for what it truly is in both the good and the bad. Prior to this, many of the songs have been positive and seemingly sweet; this is the first taste listeners get of a slightly more sinister song representing the negative and ironic sides to love. 

The album’s second half opens with the song ‘I Don’t Remember You’, a song with an awesome beat and feel-good vibe throughout. “I’m feeling like I’ve seen you in a dream” is a repeated lyric and gives listeners a sense of distortion and confusion that often accompanies people in love. It depicts how love can cause intense happiness or sadness, both resulting in a feeling of unreality. The album goes on to play the song ‘I’ll Get Along Just Fine’, which also opens with an intense beat and a guitar riff to be envious of. The simplistic pattern of verses and choruses could not be more effective; it provides listeners with a song similar enough to the previous one to compare the futility and unnecessary aspects of love, but different enough to contrast the idea of coping alone by choice and by force. It is so incredibly effective it is hard to believe the immense talent this artist has shown. ‘Low Tides’ is the album’s eighth song and, aside from the disheartening feeling of the album coming to an end, the song’s slower tempo once again evokes a sense of calm in the storm of love. The song itself consists of no lyrics, unlike any other song in the album, and is overpowered by a constant drumbeat and changing guitar tabs, all of which draw the listeners’ attention to the effectiveness of being unconventional and different. 

The album’s final two songs are ‘What Dreams Are For’ and ‘Suzanne I’m Sorry’, both of which open with an incredibly engaging tempo, alongside a melody of impact. The ninth song begins with a fairly long instrumental interdiction before the verse and chorus; the choral lyrics consist of “This is what dreams are for”, presumably describing a relationship that can never be and only exists in the imagination of another. The heartbreakingly sorrowful emotions evoked here stem from this feeling of impossibility and the devastating heartbreak that accompanies this feeling of rejection. The album closes with ‘Suzanne I’m Sorry’, a song filled with beautifully intertwined instruments and lyrics of desperation, regret, and hope for the future. For a generation stereotypically losing its hopeless romantic vibe, this song acts as the perfect introduction to the society of care and loyalty that all desire. Southern’s genius lyrics of “Suzanne I’m sorry/ Can we just start over” completely engulf listeners into a feeling of his hopeless desire for the one he loves, the incredibly powerful hold love has over humanity and the sorrowful regret felt by many in heartbreaking situations.

Overall, Thom Southern’s album ‘Plaza’ could not be more perfect, demonstrating sides to love that many don’t even consider. It shows his listeners the importance of loyalty, kindness, and equality in any relationship, not specifically romantically, as well as how being different can be extremely beneficial. 

Abby Price 
Image - Thom Southern ‘Plaza’ Official Album Cover

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