Tom Odell’s “If You Wanna Love Somebody” Is A Return To Form

Tom Odell was hailed as the Next Big Thing in 2012 when the haunting “Another Love” came out of nowhere to conquer the charts. He fulfilled that promise with brilliant debut LP, Long Way Down, but then suffered from the sophomore slump. Not that there was anything wrong with 2016’s Wrong Crowd — it just strayed a little too far from the moody, singer/songwriter template he had already established. The Brit returns to more familiar territory on “If You Wanna Love Somebody,” the first taste of his third album.

There’s so much to love about the emotionally-fraught piano ballad. As usual, Tom’s lyrics dissect matters of the heart with the skill of a brain surgeon as he draws a line in the sand. “You really shouldn’t let me hold you, if you wanna just pretend,” he sings in a verse. “You gotta make your kiss a little colder, if it’s ever gonna end.” If there’s a trace of bitterness, it evaporates in the soaring chorus. “Oh if you wanna love somebody, I’m your man.” Watch the performance-based video, which was directed by Sophie Littman, up top.

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