Album: Do You Believe In Me? by Tally Koren

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In modern music, so many albums have recurring production elements, and special songwriting techniques are used to make songs connected enough to be on the same album. These elements are sadly formulaic or repetitive most of the time, but not in the case of Tally Koren. In her latest full-length album, “Do You Believe In Me?”, those elements were used sparingly…making no two songs sound the same. Let’s dig in and find out what this album is all about.

 

The album starts with “Keep Going” which is a very strong intro that introduces us to most of the beautiful elements that make the album what it is. The piano is uplifting and hopeful, with a little space left for sadness and desperation that perfectly match with the vocals. Speaking of which, I really fell in love with Tally’s voice at first listen. How her voice has a slight brokenness regardless of key changes or singing higher and lower pitches is just amazing…it’s like that feeling of the person who’s been broken before and is now advising us from a place of personal experience. The second track “Beauty Of The Duty (Abbey Road)” has some more experimentation and a very sassy timbre…Tally reminded me of Radiohead here in a way that can’t be put into words, you’d have to listen to the song to feel it. It became more apparent to me though when I realized how this song takes a more rhythmic/percussive approach to leave space for the vocals to shine…with the electric guitars being a wonderful addition to an already wonderful sound. “Watch Your Thoughts (It’s Who You Are)” had a previous release as a single, and is an amazing example of how songwriters can take both nostalgic and modern elements to make a fresh song. The drum machines and vocal lines both allude to the 90s diva era, and that song is much of a hit by today’s standards as much as that era…so really kudos to Tally on achieving that. 

 

Not Satisfied” has more drum machines, and more sensational breathy vocals, but an overall deviation towards an early 2000s sound…it still kinda qualifies for a diva-era hit, but its most attractive quality for me was the realistic production of the strings and the unique timbre of Tally’s voice. You don’t listen to this track and compare it to a popular singer, you just look at the artist’s name or try to ask people who this gorgeous voice belongs to. “Just A Bad Day” has that super catchy recurring piano line and some deeper vocals and lower pitches, which really shows us how Tally’s no one-trick-pony…and the song somehow maintains a sing-along appeal despite its gloomy emotional background and sad lyrics. The following track, “Do You Believe In Me?“, gave the album its name. The track shows Tally singing extended phrases with little to no vibrato, in a very soulful manner, but her breathiness reminded me just a tiny bit of Dido. Like most of the album’s songs so far, this track felt so anthemic and memorable due to its accessible melody and awesome arrangement. 

 

Usually, when an album is this passionate and sensational, you get a jaw-droppingly emotional ballad in the middle of it…and that ballad is “The Garden Of Love“. The instrumentation is pretty lo-fi and Tally’s voice takes the spotlight from all other elements. With the backing harmonies and layers she recorded, you get an idea of how she weaves her voice into an instrument that’s full of twang and resonance that can melt your heart with their emotional delivery. The song has a flute solo before the final chorus which unexpectedly had some lowkey jazz/swing vibes…this track had me speechless. Another ballad, “Both Sides Now“, has a piano arrangement and ascending levels of vocal power- a strong contender for an international hit single if you ask me. The song’s vocal line made me want to sway and sing along to it because of all the beautiful and eargasmic moments…the tiny hairs on the back of my neck were raised by this one. The following track, “I Am Calling You“, brings back the drum machines and the breathy icy cold vocal timbre. It’s as if Tally wants to transmit the feelings of estrangement and loneliness to us more than anything…she’s performing through emotion, and yet she never fails her technique or has a lackluster moment.

 

When The Fields Are Burning” has backing vocals and a groovy guitar chord progression that add to its already catchy lyrics and vocal line. “Free Will” is a reissued track that perfectly paints the mental picture of fear of the unknown and the presumption that it will all be negative and hurtful events based on traumatic past experiences. It’s a heartbreaking narrative but it’s so honest and authentic that it will stick with you from the first listen. “If I Could Write a Love Song” is a romantic and heartfelt piece that starts with piano and soft percussion, with other elements like the guitar and orchestration joining in on the second verse. There’s a part in the bridge where Tally does what’s probably her highest note in the entire album…and I was amazed by the power and passion in her execution even though we are 12 tracks in- this woman knows how to command my every emotion with her singing. The thirteenth and final track is the deluxe version of “Two Kisses” which has Tally’s characteristic wailing sound that’s resonant and heart-piercing, but some grounded and chesty parts during the verses too. It’s as if two of her (many) vocal abilities are conversing with each other. This song has a slightly different vibe from the rest of the album in how dramatic its orchestration sounds and how the production of the piano is slightly different than that of the previous tracks. 

All in all, this is a miraculously emotional album with so many layers and so many empowering moments. The rollercoaster that Tally Koren takes her listeners on is well-planned and well-executed despite being a wild ride. This woman knows her strengths and knows well how to strike us with powerful moments and then put us in a sad state with delicate and lengthy verses…all I can say is that this masterpiece of a record will have you feeling so many emotions and then wondering why Tally Koren isn’t the megastar and A-lister she deserves to be.