Clifford Slapper reflects on Tim Arnold’s new album ‘You Are For Me’
Even for aficionados of Tim Arnold’s seventeen previous albums, all excellent in diverse ways, this latest offering will still be a revelation. With an assurance and sophistication which surpasses his previous work, he has managed to frame a style which is genuinely new – not just to him, but actually innovatory. You Are For Me aptly follows last year’s I Am For You and sparkles with a maturing voice which shows wisdom and angst in equal measure. The eternal story of our quest for love and belonging is explored via a geographical and emotional whirlwind trip. Tim Arnold’s 18th studio album was written and recorded during a 5-month period of travel between London, Spain, Los Angeles and Toronto, and it shows. Unlike earlier albums, it was not scheduled or planned but evolved spontaneously. It is co-produced brilliantly by Tim with the extremely talented Ben Pelchat.
The album’s opener, “About You”, begins with the theme-establishing sound of a moving train, reminiscent of the opening of Bowie’s Station To Station. Within seconds we have been catapulted, via Vivaldi to LA, Pink Floyd and the Niagara Falls…and we’re off! Flamenco, Montreal; the global and cultural reference points come thick and fast, but are all sincere and meangingful. We feel his longing, his yearning, his wanting it all, his wanting the mystery love introduced here as “you”. It deepens to “all my life”, something eternal, with so much he wants to know about his mystery love…Second verse and we’re back in Blighty, The Isle Of Wight, and some lovely simple piano comes in. Destiny. Filmic. It happened, you swept me off my feet. Here we are, in the thick of a compelling love story and it has only just begun. . .
A seriously world class of production becomes evident on “Hope Is Like The Sun” and subsequent tracks. Birdsong, more lovely piano, plump bass, that compelling voice, pushing us forward. On “I’m An Open Book”, Tim Arnold somehow manages to channel Elvis Presley and Prince at the same time. As this story of a complex love affair unfolds around the world, his extremely diverse influences are all evident: Old British Music Hall (“Two Of Her Favourite Things”), The Beatles (throughout), Scott Walker and Torch Songs (“Love For A Day”) and, somewhat new to him, an intoxicating dash of true Americana. His sense of rhythm is faultless, as is the sincerity and expressiveness of his voice.
There is a lot of excellently played and recorded piano too, ranging from the classical sounds on “Love For A Day” and the dramatic show-closer, “A Page In Your Parade”, to an apt honky-tonk used on tracks like “Two Of Her Favourite Things” duetting there with Beatles inspired wind instrumentation. Virtually all instruments on this album were played by Tim Arnold, quite a feat in itself. This journey around the world and through the heart will leave you with an ecstatic emotional jet lag, which will be cured only by listening again – and again!
Available to stream and download in the UK on the 3rd July, 2018 and is available in the UK to pre-order now. A worldwide release of a 31-track Deluxe Download will be available from this website 3rd July, 2018. Check here for Tim’s live UK dates this Summer.
Clifford Slapper is a pianist, producer, author and musical director. He has worked with Boy George, Ricky Gervais, Suggs, Marc Almond, Holly Johnson, Ian Shaw, Billie Ray Martin, Stereo MCs, Carl Barât, Finley Quaye, Jarvis Cocker, Lisa Stansfield and David Bowie, playing piano for Bowie’s last ever television appearance in the world. His much acclaimed recent album Bowie Songs One by Clifford Slapper & Friends continues to garner much critical praise and is on all digital platforms worldwide as well as from http://www.bowiesongs.com/ as a special CD package with booklet. His book, “Bowie’s Piano Man: The Life of Mike Garson” (Backbeat, 2018) is out in the USA June 2018, and in UK/Europe July 2018. (Pre)orders: UK: http://amzn.to/2IIz0Rl
Follow Clifford on Twitter: @cliffordslapper