Some people keep expecting songs about that many splendored thing called love to run their course and play out. However, artists continue looking for different ways to express those ancient feelings, tell those old stories and resolve the eternal conflicts that always arise whenever we turn to affairs of the heart. Cynics who declare that we don’t need another love song or that the era of the ballad is over are a dime a dozen. They’re probably right about the world not needing another love song because we’ve got plenty of good ones and more than a few bad ones. These records fall within the parameters of I saw he/she standing there and I was smitten, to now I must clean up the mess from this fairy tale gone wrong.
However, anybody predicting the demise of the love song is as wrong as two left shoes. Why? See, here’s the thing about the love song: we never cease to be amazed by the infinite ways writers and singers have of telling this age old story. That’s because there are infinite number of experiences and each person responds to them differently. That may explain why Love Infinity is the title of Teri Tobin's self-confident new album that explores the many facets of relationships. One thing that works to Tobin’s advantage is that a well-crafted song never goes out of style among a certain segment of the music listening population, and Tobin targets that demographic with the 14 tracks on Love Infinity.
Tobin can take a topic such as the age old female lament that a good man is hard to find, and create the jazz/funk fusion “Applications.” Mikki Howard (“Love under New Management”) and The Honeycombs (“Want Ads”) explored variations of this theme. Tobin takes on the role of an employer in “Applications” as she details the qualities that she wants in a man. First things first, Tobin wants applicants to know that she’s not looking to raise anybody. Lazy men who don’t take care of the children they brought into the world also need not apply. “Applications” is a tune that carries more than a little bit of humor and Tobin clearly has fun detailing the qualities that a man should list on his ‘love CV.’ However, that humor masks a real and growing concern felt by women of all backgrounds about being stuck with hordes of failure to launch/delayed adolescence men.
The ‘you swept me off my feet the moment I saw you theme’ is another enduring love song staple that Tobin addresses on the dreamy ballad “Lovesong.” Tobin’s vocals, which are at once sultry and dreamy, capture the on-clouds-with-wings feeling that we all get when we are just captivated by someone. The cut “Why” addresses what gets left behind when love goes bad. “Why” finds Tobin engaging in a monologue aimed at the man who left her with a baby boy. The hook to this intentionally sparse tune has Tobin asking the man a series of ‘what’ questions “what about me/what about your baby/papa had wings to fly/what do I say when he asks why.”
I guess there will always be people who will roll their eyes whenever they hear a love song. They will declare that we shouldn’t waste our time on such trivial matters when the country is fighting three wars and so many people are unemployed. What Tobin reminds us with Love Infinity is that while love isn’t geopolitics, for those who are falling in and out of it, love is far more important. Recommended
By Howard Dukes