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A Piece of What You Need

34 customer reviews

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Audio CD, June 17, 2008
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

No matter how you classify it, Thompson's third release on Verve Forecast is a gem! Produced by Marius de Vries (Bjork, Madonna, Rufus Wainwright) Piece is a sonically brilliant recording of upbeat songs filled with Teddy's impassioned vocals and clever but heartfelt lyrics. Per Teddy Thompson "I think this album is my pop record but I'm not really sure because I'm not sure what that word means anymore."

About the Artist

"This is a happy record," Teddy Thompson says of his new Verve Forecast release A Piece of What You Need. "Well, maybe not happy, but upbeat. Actually, maybe not upbeat, but it does have some up-tempo songs! Anyway, it's as close as I've gotten to making the record I've always wanted to make."

Indeed, happy or not, A Piece of What You Need - Thompson's fourth album overall and his third for Verve - is the London-born, New York-based artist's most ambitious and accomplished effort to date, showcasing his formidable vocal, songwriting and guitar talents while venturing into rewarding new musical and lyrical territory.

Thompson's trademark blend of catchy songcraft, pensive emotional insight and good-natured black humor is present on such new tunes as "In My Arms," "What's This?!!," "Don't Know What I Was Thinking" and the bittersweetly fatalistic "Turning the Gun On Myself." The album's effortless pop sensibility is matched by a playful sonic palette that incorporates such aural surprises as the careening brass band on "Can't Sing Straight" and "One of These Days," or the Hitchcockian orchestral rushes that haunt the cinematic "Jonathan's Book."

Although Thompson co-produced his last two albums Separate Ways and Up Close & Down Low, for A Piece of What You Need he made it a point to recruit an outside producer to help realize his expansive musical agenda. The man for the job was Marius de Vries, whose extensive production resume includes work with acts as diverse as Bjork, Madonna, David Gray and Rufus Wainwright.

"I knew that I wanted this one to be more adventurous, with strong, solid rhythm tracks and beautiful airy touches to support the songs," Thompson explains, adding, "Marius gets all the credit for that. He's taken the arrangements up a notch. There was nothing off-limits, nothing that was too weird or too difficult. I could tell him that I wanted something to sound like fairies dancing around a maypole, and he'd know what button to push to get that. We were able to add a lot more layers, without overshadowing the songs themselves."

Thompson, son of folk-rock legends Richard and Linda Thompson, developed his musical drive early in life and launched his first band while still in his early teens. By the time he released his self-titled solo debut in 2000, he'd served a stint in his father's touring band and contributed guitar and vocals to his dad's albums You? Me? Us? and Mock Tudor. He subsequently co-produced and played on his mother's 2002 comeback disc Fashionably Late, and toured as a member of Rosanne Cash's backing band.

After signing with Verve, he released his widely acclaimed 2006 sophomore album Separate Ways, which demonstrated how much his songwriting, performing and record-making skills had evolved since his debut. It was followed in 2007 by Up Front & Down Low, a collection of personally charged readings of classic American country songs that demonstrated Thompson's increased assurance as a performer and interpreter.

"My first record was made in two weeks, and I had no idea what I was doing," Thompson states. "Separate Ways was done over a long period of time in bits and pieces. And Upfront & Down Low was done quickly and was intentionally free-swinging and loose. With the new one, we put a lot of time and effort into it, but we made it pretty quickly, because we had a plan and did a lot of preparation and pre-production. Because of that, it feels more like a complete package to me.

"But it was stressful in other ways," he adds, 'because I went into making this record without having finished a lot of the songs, which is something I've never done before. I'd be out on tour, sitting in a hotel room in Canada, pulling my hair out and trying to think of a rhyme for antediluvian. In some cases the songs ended up taking a different shape because of that, and they developed in interesting ways that they wouldn't have otherwise."

A Piece of What You Need is a landmark for an artist whose creative restlessness continues to yield deeply compelling musical results. Thompson's sense of purpose - and sense of humor - are reflected in the song title that provides the album's name.

"The song was born from frustration with the state of music," he explains. "I liked it as an album title because I thought it sounded like an offering, like this record is a small bit of truth. For most people, it's gonna be an absolutely miniscule piece of what they need. But I'd like to think that I'm contributing some tiny little building block of something worthwhile, rather than just adding to the massive pile of disposable rubbish."

1. The Things I Do
2. What's This?!
3. In My Arms
4. Where to Go from Here
5. Don't Know What I Was Thinking
6. Can't Sing Straight
7. Slippery Slope
8. Jonathan's Book
9. One of These Days
10. Turning the Gun on Myself
11. A Piece of What You Need

Product Details

  • Audio CD (June 17, 2008)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Verve Forecast
  • ASIN: B0019ESNDM
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #98,657 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By John Buckingham on June 26, 2008
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
As other reviewers have noted, Teddy Thompson's latest effort A PIECE OF WHAT YOU NEED finds the Brit-born/NY based singer-songwriter craftily playing every side of his lonely, self-loathing persona, and all with the lacerating wit in lyrics for which the younger Thompson is justly celebrated. The horror of actually finding happiness that opens the insanely catchy "What's This?!!" eventually gives way, many songs later, to the mordantly funny lament of "Turning the Gun on Myself", with several interesting and well-observed stops in between. Thompson's incredible voice remains one of the finest in contemporary music and though PIECE doesn't showcase it as well as his previous release, 2007's now classic UP FRONT AND DOWN LOW - mostly covers of C&W chestnuts with one tremendous original - PIECE'S rich, multilayered production still makes a rich setting for Thompson's vocals. ("Jonathan's Book", with a cinematic opening, finds Thompson flirting with a Beatles vibe, to good effect.) The CD package gets a shwack for not including any notes or credits - listeners have to go to Thompson's Web site for those - and for burying one of the albums best tracks ("Price of Love") many, many minutes after the last listed one, the title tune. Anyone who left before the very end of IRON MAN will know what I mean, so have patience. These are minor quibbles compared to the true work of art that Thompson's achieved here. If you don't have any of his CDs, start here. The title really does say it all.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By T. R. Mielke on June 21, 2008
Format: Audio CD
This is a great album. Teddy has become his own artist with own unique singing style that is extremely open and expansive. It appears his singing of country classics from his last album has allowed him to experiment with his voice this time that is so rich and creative that it appears at times to be effortless. I believe that natural would best describe it. The arrangements are varied and colorful with guitars, pianos, horns and strings flowing in and out of all the songs that expands and never distracts from any of the songs. This album also sounds great through headphones if you are a audio freak like I am. Teddy has done both of his parents proud by just being himself and letting his muse take him on a journey that is never limited by his lack of imagination either though the quality of his song writing or the eloquent way he sings them. I believe he now has one up on his friend Rufus Wainwright and has become the better songwriter and arranger of the two.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Lee Armstrong HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 27, 2008
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Teddy Thompson's new set "A Piece of What You Need" starts out with one of the best one-two-three song selections. The opener "The Things I Do" is a hook-laden track with an addictive melody, Thompson's gorgeous and expressive voice, and his trademark wit in the lyric, "It's getting harder & harder to live with myself, the things I do." It's Teddy's trick that feeling bad can sound this good. "What's This?!!" arrives with punch, a ripping stutter-style guitar lead, and Teddy's tremendous vocals, "Oh sh*t, Oh sh*t, am I happy or something? Is it you? Is it me? Is it us? Is it we?" It's another totally addictive track. "In My Arms" is also a beautiful track with the pace mellowed & Thompson's vocals silky and caressing. "Can't Sing Straight" & "Jonathan's Book" are also favorites of mine. Teddy Thompson continues to deliver excellent music on a CD that is sure to hit many "best of 2008" lists. Enjoy!
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Roderick Keech on July 20, 2008
Format: Audio CD
who had the brilliant idea of not including any lyrics or credits with the CD (you can access them on individual pages on his website) and leaving a 5 minute break before you 'discover' the hidden track. Why do record companies do that ? Why not just put a track marker in and call it a bonus track, as it is a real pain. Is it any wonder the music business is in trouble ?

That said, it is always a joy to get another album by Teddy, despite my grumblings. I just like to know who did what to who and when. After repeated listenings I have grown to love this album, somewhat more up-beat than his others. Teddy is an excellent and prolific songwriter, so it was a bit of a surprise when he released the album prior to this made up entirely of covers, plus one. The irony was that the only TT written track on that album Up Front and Down Low (Down Low, with Maria Mulduar's daughter Jenni singing background vocals) was the best track:)

As always I will look forward to his next release, hoping for lyrics and no 5 minute break at the end for a hidden track !
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Patrick Hurley on July 2, 2008
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This is classic Teddy Thompson and well worth the purchase.
Two complaints though. There are absolutely no liner notes with the CD - aside from listing the song titles. The CD sleeve invites you to go to the website but the credits are shown there in such a complicated way. (I wanted to print them and put them with the CD).
Second complaint... what is the point in having a hidden track (The Everly's 'Price Of Love') that to access requires you to fast forward 10 minutes along from the end of the final listed track. The easier solution (if you must have a hidden track) is to add it as an extra track, and thereby is readily accessible. Great album - sloppy finishing work.
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What's the packaging?
I like to actually buy the cd, not just download from iTunes myself, so I just got this a couple of days ago. It came in a jewel case, but I was disappointed it has no lyrics. I think I saw that they were on his website. Very good, though, don't you agree?
Jun 30, 2008 by turtlegirl |  See all 3 posts
ditto on packaging Be the first to reply
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