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Album Review

The Weepies (Steve Tannen and Deb Talan) have never pretended to be anything that they're not, which is, briefly, sentimental, melodic folk-pop, with harmonious vocals and gently picked guitars. They accept this, they relish in it, they did it well on Happiness, and they continue to do so on their 13-track major-label debut. Being that the title of the record, Say I Am You, is a quote from 13th century writer Jelaluddin Rumi, known for his intense spiritual and passionate poems, it is not a surprise that the album is all about love. Sometimes the love is hidden or lost ("World Spins Madly On," for example), sometimes it's false, but mainly it's a love that has been gratefully found and cherished. And for the most part, the Weepies manage to discuss and explore this without falling into the trappings of typically saccharine infatuated musings. "Take It from Me," the album's opener, has Talan trying, vainly, to find metaphors for her incomparable beloved ("a favorite pair of shoes?" or "a window the sun shines through?" she wonders), and the rest of the album pretty much follows suit. The songs are simple and pretty and generally uplifting, basking in the glow of being happily smitten, but not blind to the misfortunes of others in the world. The tracks on which Tannen sings the lead vocals are actually the most pessimistic of them all (the David Gray-like "Love Doesn't Last Too Long," for instance) or at least the most ambiguous, and provide more of a cynical, or perhaps just sad, perspective on the theme. Tannen's voice is nice, but it's nowhere near as charming as that of his counterparts: he's much better suited to the role of backup harmony, and probably because of this he sings lead on only about one-third of the album. Talan's voice, instead, is a pleasant reminder of the chick-folk/rock stars of the '90s, but she adds her own sweet innocence that fits perfectly with the love songs, the twinkling guitar, the literate wordplay, the scalar melodies. Say I Am You is not groundbreaking music, but the Weepies know what they're doing, and they know how they feel, and they're not afraid to sing about it.


Formed: 2001 in Cambridge, MA

Genre: Singer/Songwriter

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Singer/songwriters Deb Talan and Steve Tannen, both of whom had released solo material before banding together to form folk-pop duo the Weepies, first met at one of Tannen's shows in Cambridge, Massachusetts. At the time, Tannen was touring in support of his debut record, Big Señorita. Mutual admirers of each other's music, the two musicians started writing songs together, and soon the Weepies' whimsical, acoustic-based sound took shape. The pair released an independent album, 2003's Happiness, before...
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Live Session (iTunes Exclusive) - EP, The Weepies
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