Reviewed by Aaron Cloutier
Tanner Gordon, lead vocalist for Edmonton, Alberta natives “The Unfortunates”, strikes out on his own once again with the melancholic “So Long.”
The closing track from his brand new solo effort “Start Again” ironically started out as a goodbye letter of sorts to music, but has since become a message of hope for those who struggle with their own demons.
In his own words, Gordon describes the intentions behind the song’s message as “Hoping that it could reach someone who felt the same way he did in that moment...to let them know they are never alone.”
Beginning his career at the ripe age of 14, Gordon renounced the cover band scene writing originals and playing for anyone that would listen. He later went on to join The Unfortunates in 2009, but felt the need to play songs that didn't necessarily fit the band’s more rock aesthetic. Hence the aptly titled, Start Again.
True to his word, Gordon delivers in stark contrast to the alternative rock stylings of his aforementioned band. Gordon brings it all back to the coffee shop with warm acoustic flourishes, trance inducing rhythms, and bittersweet lyrics aimed at challenging the listener to delve into the realms of introspection. This is abundantly clear with lines like,
“As if to start at the end
Then someday begin
I was so lost, so lost
I've been so loved
What struck me the most about “So Long” initially was its unconventional song structure. Things kick off in a relatively straightforward manner at first with a bright acoustic guitar strumming along steadily to a rhythm section with pocket for days. The vocals showed up as expected and each line was engineered to be an earworm.
I felt a slight country vibe going on but it’s all wrapped up in a pop casing.
And here’s where things get surprising.
After what now appears to be a series of verses, the band starts cooking a little bit more with the addition of electric guitar overdubs and freaked out synths. Up until this point, everything feels like a set up for a massive chorus in my mind. The steady rhythms and Gordon’s melodies create a tension that continues to build but just when you think it’s about to kick into an anthem, the song ends leaving you wanting more.
No second verse, no chorus. Brilliant.
It’s refreshing to be honest. It makes me feel like I’m watching a scene play out in a movie where the main character is driving down the highway and is stuck in contemplation. Then as soon as he reaches the destination, both the scene and song fade out. It's brilliant, original, and what makes Tanner Gordon stand-out.
Be sure to check out “Start Again” if pensive singer songwriter music is your bag.
About Tanner Gordon Tanner is bringing it all back to where it started. The new album features Tanner’s signature melancholy lyrics and brooding acoustic undertones. At the same time “Start Again” pushes Tanner to new depths vocally, lyrically, musically and stylistically. Pushing new boundaries and challenging the listener to think of their own memories and how time shapes who we are. Since his debut album in 2008 , Tanner has gone on to perform over 250 shows across Canada. Tanner has been the frontman of “The Unfortunates” since 2009, releasing 4 albums, completed a National Tour, and in 2020 winning “W.A.M Album Of The Year” and in 2022 his song "Start Again" was named to the "World National Indie Radio's Best Songs of the Year"
Song meaning if you want to share with reviewer: In 2017 Tanner wrote a letter of goodbye to music, to everything. In the next five years with the help of friends and family he picked himself back up and found real peace in his life and music. In 2001, Tanner recorded that letter he wrote to music, hoping that it could reach someone who felt the same way he did in that moment...to let them know they are never alone.
Any other information you would like Reviewer to know:: Tanner started writing original songs at the age of 14, playing for anyone that would listen at , campfires, coffee shops, legions and at school. He continued writing and performing his original songs with The Unfortunates but felt the need to play songs that didn't necessarily fit the bands songs...thus his cd Start Again.
For more information on Tanner Gordon, please visit his website.