Deb Tanal and Steve Tannen were both established musicians when they met at one of Tanal’s shows in Cambridge, MA in 2001. They found they had a musical affinity and began playing together as The Weepies. They released their debut independently in 2003 and by 2005, they landed a deal with Nettwerk Records. Their major label debut, “Say I Am You,” was released in 2005 and they were on their way. “Say I Am You” was an iTunes smash and they started getting songs picked for use in a bunch of TV shows, including Grey’s Anatomy, Everwood, One Tree Hill, Scrubs, The Riches, How I Met Your Mother, and several more.
The Weepies’ sound is rooted in indie, but with more accessible poppy appeal. There’s a certain heart wrenching nostalgia to a lot of their songs that makes me remember good times in my life with a bit of sadness that they’re gone. The music is usually acoustic, with Tanal and Tannen taking turns at the lead vocals but often singing beautiful harmonies as well. I am frequently reminded of other musicians when I listen to their music. They aren’t breaking any new ground at all, but originality isn’t always where it’s at. Both are potent songwriters and while their sound isn’t minimalist, it is often simple, beautiful, and moving.
I gave 7 of the album’s 13 songs a permanent home on my iPod. Check out my picks.
- Take It from Me – This is a relatively unremarkable pop song, but it’s very catchy. It reminds me of Sarah Harmer, or maybe even Natalie Merchant, a little bit. It isn’t cutting edge, but I liked it enough to rip it.
- Gotta Have You – Quiet acoustic guitar and gentle percussion back Deb Talan breathing a sweet love ballad. Again, it’s not particularly fresh but it’s really appealing, largely because of the lyrics.
- World Spins Madly On – I discovered The Weepies because this song wound up on the One Tree Hill soundtrack. It reminds me a little of Nickel Creek, with Steve Tannen taking lead vocal duties on this one. Talan adds some lovely harmony vocals, though.
- Riga Girls – The vamping percussion keeps the light keys and plucked acoustic guitar rolling along as Tannen confesses, “Oh, I wish I had someone.”
- Suicide Blonde – This is probably the most energetic song on the album and I think it’s my favorite as well, even though it’s only a minute and a half long. We even get a bit of electric guitar in the solo.
- Painting by Chagall – They lay some true indie-pop on us. It’s a sweet, small song. If you give it a listen, though, make sure you stick around for the irresistible chorus.
- Love Doesn’t Last Too Long – This terribly sad and bluesy song feels out of place amidst all the sunny folk/pop. They also do some uncharacteristic production tricks in the studio. I like it, though.
The Weepies have put out 2 albums since “Say I am You,” and I haven’t heard any songs from either yet. I’m going to seek them out, though. I’ll let you know what I find.