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Bella

4.2 out of 5 stars 34 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

About the Artist

Acclaimed singer-songwriter Teddy Thompson's forthcoming album Bella is set for release February 8 on Verve Forecast. The album follows 2008's A Piece of What You Need, which The Guardian declared "one of this year's best," and debuted at #9 in the UK charts. Bella is Thompson's fifth set in a career that has consistently garnered critical praise. NPR proclaims that he's "the musical equivalent of an arrow to the heart," while The New York Times calls his work "beautifully finessed." Recorded in New York City and produced by David Kahne (The Strokes, Regina Spektor, Paul McCartney), Bella features some of Thompson's boldest material to date, combining lean rock and roll with lush string arrangements through the album. Thompson began working on the material for Bella after he returned from his last tour; he structured his writing sessions by going to a Manhattan office each day where he developed these songs, honing in as a recording deadline loomed. Using his touring band--Ethan Eubanks (drums), Jeff Hill (bass), Daniel Mintseris (keyboards)--Thompson and Kahne cut basic tracks at Avatar in midtown Manhattan, the former site of the legendary Power Station. Says Thompson, "It was quite old-school recording studio, which there aren't many of anymore. It felt almost decadent, making an old fashioned record in a big studio. In the first few weeks, when we were going into the big room, I felt like I was really going to make a record as opposed to going into some little room with computer screens, which it so often is these days. We definitely did a lot of that later on. At least in the beginning it was very rock and roll." The son of folk legends Richard and Linda Thompson, Teddy Thompson formed his first band in his teens. His original tunes and live gigs generated such acclaim that he was soon signed to Virgin Records. By the time Thompson released his self-titled solo debut in 2000, he'd already played in his father's touring band and contributed guitar and backing vocals to his father's albums, You? Me? Us? and Mock Tudor. In 2002, Thompson played a key role in drawing his mother out of a 17-year musical retirement to record her landmark disc Fashionably Late, which he played on and co-produced. Thompson also toured as part of Rosanne Cash's band before signing with Verve. This is his fourth release for the label.
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (February 8, 2011)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Verve Forecast
  • ASIN: B003VWR1WO
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #108,143 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Teddy Thompson's yearning, aching new CD, "Bella" is a superb showcase for his rich, angst-filled vocals. Not since his friend Rufus Wainwright's "Want" CD, has an artist's romantic suffering produced such a glorious display of gut-level heartache.

The heartfelt longing in the songs is perfectly captured in Thompson's versatile singing. His vocals on this CD show his enormous versatilty and range. In one song, he seamlessly switches from falsetto to a lower octive in the span of a few seconds. Teddy alternately channels the sadness of Roy Orbison and Richard Thompson, the immediacy of Jackson Browne, and the sly, witty irony of an upbeat Crowded House. The arrangements are denser and lusher than his previous outings, similar to Wainwright's "Want", but the songs are more tightly focused and crafted. The only misstep here is the opener, "Looking For a Girl". The lyrics of the song are too pedestrian when compared with the rest of the CD.

That Teddy Thompson is not a huge star defies logic. He is one of the finest singer/songwriters of his generation. His voice is a thing of beauty, with few contemporary rivals. Teddy wears his heart on his sleeve, and for that, we should all be grateful.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Teddy Thompson delivers a solid albums' worth of wonderful songs. He has a knack for writing lyrics that ring in your emotional memory as a sentiment you have felt before. His voice is just as solid as his first album, which I bought because my daughter brought it home from her job at Barnes & Noble. The music department workers got to bid for the promotional CD's provided to the store. I have purchased every CD he has put out since, even the country-heavy "Up Front & Down Low". He has a beautiful voice and I want to hear more and more; I hope he keeps giving me what I want for many years to come.
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I confess it: I'm a BIG Teddy Thompson fan. I just think he's a major talent that is not getting nearly enough attention. But I find this new album is only at a "good" level. His earlier works, like "Separate Ways" and "A Piece of What you Need," are so extraordinary that the comparison bar is very very high for this guy. He's a brilliant performer, however, and any of his stuff is enjoyable. Great voice, great songs, beautiful arrangements.
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Format: Audio CD
Teddy Thompson
"Bella"
(Verve Forecast, 2011)
--------------------------------------------
The genre-hopping Mr. Thompson has found a comfortable berth in the fuzzy confines of the "Americana" genre, though he's really more of a rock-pop auteur, in the tradition of wordsmiths such as John Haitt, Graham Parker and Elvis Costello. Accordingly, this album is packed with unexpected turns of phrase, a keenly self-lacerating wit, and one irresistible pop hook after another. You'll find yourself unsettled by how catchy this record can be: the lyrics are so dark, but the melody's so sweet.

In general, Thompson lays waste to the vanity and self-centeredness of clever young men, as heard on the blistering opening salvo of "Looking For A Girl," a song that mimics the earnest, youthful lust of classic rock and power-pop, then attacks the callowness and cruelty of how these emotions can play out in real life... The singer sees himself as a real catch, a swell guy with a short and not unreasonable list of what he wants in his dream girl, while we quickly come to realize what a drag he'd be as a boyfriend. This dark streak continues through to several songs with similar themes -- "Take Care Of Yourself," "The One I Can't Have," the devastating "Take Me Back Again" and the forlorn, pathetic "Take Me Back Again." After a while, you might start feeling pretty uncomfortable -- hopefully these songs aren't too autobiographical, because even with his keen observations and obvious self-awareness, this is a pretty lonely picture that Thompson has painted. Of course, when all hope is gone, there's always Mom, a theme explored on the sweet, claustrophobic ballad, "Home," an uncomfortable family portrait on a par with Loudon Wainwright III. This is a delightfully intelligent, densely packed, catchy and compelling album... Definitely recommended! (DJ Joe Sixpack, Slipcue Guide To Country Music)
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I own all of Teddy Thompsons prior CD's, and loved his only Brisbane show at The Troubador (an unbelievably classy act for the privileged few in such an intimate venue).

"Bella" is immediately welcoming and enjoyable, infused with Teddy's trademark vocal and lyrical stylings. The album continues to improve with each listen, and that's due to the strength of the musicality as well as the quality of production.

Teddy deserves big time success and broad acclaim. As a solo live entertainer he's a grand master, but I'd also love to see him with a full band performing this material.
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I'm a fairly new Teddy Thompson fan. First heard him in a Nick Drake tribute concert. Lovely singing voice and this album showcases that voice at it's best so far. Although "Separate Ways" and the eponymous first album, "Teddy Thompson" are better(Brink of Love and Separate Ways are beautiful songs that have no equal on this new album);his voice on Bella has never sounded lovelier. Is he trying to channel Roy Orbison on "Take Care of Yourself"? Teddy's albums are consistently well written and performed with terrific back up vocals (Rufus and Martha Wainwright) and musicians (Richard Thompson). This is a good solid album. Maybe a little more produced and commercial than priors, but worth listening to and purchasing.
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