The Weepies: Say I Am You

Jason MacNeil

Please don't weep for the Weepies. Deb Talan and Steve Tannen might not tear the roof off with their sweet folk/pop, but you'd be a fool not to see what they are able to deliver.

The Weepies

Say I Am You

Label: Nettwerk
US Release Date: 2006-03-07
UK Release Date: 2006-03-07
iTunes affiliate

The Weepies are a duo made up of Deb Talan (who does most of the singing) and Steve Tannen (who does most of the guitar work). And for the most part, what they create is simple, yet smart adult contemporary roots pop that wouldn't seem out of place along side the likes of Sixpence None the Richer or Natalie Merchant. This is obvious just listening to the opening notes of the song, "Take It From Me". The Weepies don't weep so much as weave subtle, but effective pop melodies that seem suited for radio station's play lists. Talen's voice is sweet, fragile and pretty on this track, but it's nothing that one probably hasn't heard before or will hear again. Think of a talent like Jane Siberry if influenced by Sarah McLachlan circa Fallen and you would get the gist of this ditty.

The Weepies hit the mark with song two (no, not the Blur "woo hoo" cover). "Gotta Have You" is a better effort, that is again a sweet melody driven by Tannen's guitar and a rudimentary arrangement. Here, Talan's vocals are better suited as Tannen gives some harmonies. It's not, but one gets the feeling it's a mere pedal steel guitar away from that domain. "Gotta Have You" shines from start to finish, and that's because the duo do what they do best on this number. Even better is how this song glides into the rather rambling, ragged troubadour-like "World Spins Madly On" with its haunting strings opening things up. Resembling a duet perhaps between Michael Penn and Aimee Mann, this track is also quite stellar and stunning, even if one thinks the song is going to break out into something larger. It never does, but the tune doesn't suffer at all. Well worth a repeated listen, or seven. The same can be said later on during "Living In Twilight", which revisits the same foundation with Tannen taking over the lead vocals.

The Weepies perhaps are at their best with "Citywide Rodeo", utilizing basically a similar blueprint to one of the earlier numbers, albeit leaning towards an acoustic lullaby feel. It's a tune that's in no hurry to finish and when it's this well executed, why would it be? Unfortunately, this soft, safe acoustic pop nature sometimes is a blessing and a curse. A blessing when it works, but when the Weepies stick to the same format with each song, even if "Riga Girls" is a tad different, it can also be a group's undoing. While "Riga Girls" shuffles along, it's never really making the listener take notice. Finally "Suicide Blonde" (no, not the last great INXS single) breaks that pattern and is a poppy, up-tempo gem that is short and sweet, perhaps even a tad too short as it clocks in at just over 100 seconds.

The Weepies rarely delve into a sort of quasi-coffeehouse folk/pop, but the closest they brush up against that style is "Painting By Chagall" with Talan supported by the rather hushed harmony of Tannen. The strings and rich backdrop only heightens the feel from start to finish, not overdoing anything to diminish the overall effect. The lyrical content of "Not Your Year" sounds like someone's glass isn't only half empty, but has no bottom. Thankfully, the band gives a new color to its sound with a bit more keyboard and effects, and the drums are more pronounced here. The closing "Slow Pony Home" is the longest of the baker's dozen tunes, with Talan back in control for this tender, swaying pop melody that slowly grows with some electric guitar touches. While it's not a landmark album, it's still good to know that some groups like the Weepies can still churn out melodies in a day where they are sadly going out of style.


In Americana music the present is female. Two-thirds of our year-end list is comprised of albums by women. Here, then, are the women (and a few men) who represented the best in Americana in 2017.

If a single moment best illustrates the current divide between Americana music and mainstream country music, it was Sturgill Simpson busking in the street outside the CMA Awards in Nashville. While Simpson played his guitar and sang in a sort of renegade-outsider protest, Garth Brooks was onstage lip-syncindg his way to Entertainer of the Year. Americana music is, of course, a sprawling range of roots genres that incorporates traditional aspects of country, blues, soul, bluegrass, etc., but often represents an amalgamation or reconstitution of those styles. But one common aspect of the music that Simpson appeared to be championing during his bit of street theater is the independence, artistic purity, and authenticity at the heart of Americana music. Clearly, that spirit is alive and well in the hundreds of releases each year that could be filed under Americana's vast umbrella.

Keep reading... Show less

From genre-busting electronic music to new highs in the ever-evolving R&B scene, from hip-hop and Americana to rock and pop, 2017's music scenes bestowed an embarrassment of riches upon us.

60. White Hills - Stop Mute Defeat (Thrill Jockey)

White Hills epic '80s callback Stop Mute Defeat is a determined march against encroaching imperial darkness; their eyes boring into the shadows for danger but they're aware that blinding lights can kill and distort truth. From "Overlord's" dark stomp casting nets for totalitarian warnings to "Attack Mode", which roars in with the tribal certainty that we can survive the madness if we keep our wits, the record is a true and timely win for Dave W. and Ego Sensation. Martin Bisi and the poster band's mysterious but relevant cool make a great team and deliver one of their least psych yet most mind destroying records to date. Much like the first time you heard Joy Division or early Pigface, for example, you'll experience being startled at first before becoming addicted to the band's unique microcosm of dystopia that is simultaneously corrupting and seducing your ears. - Morgan Y. Evans

Keep reading... Show less

This week on our games podcast, Nick and Eric talk about the joy and frustration of killing Nazis in Wolfenstein: The New Order.

This week, Nick and Eric talk about the joy and frustration of killing Nazis in Wolfenstein: The New Order.

Keep reading... Show less

Which is the draw, the art or the artist? Critic Rachel Corbett examines the intertwined lives of two artists of two different generations and nationalities who worked in two starkly different media.

Artist biographies written for a popular audience necessarily involve compromise. On the one hand, we are only interested in the lives of artists because we are intrigued, engaged, and moved by their work. The confrontation with a work of art is an uncanny experience. We are drawn to, enraptured and entranced by, absorbed in the contemplation of an object. Even the performative arts (music, theater, dance) have an objective quality to them. In watching a play, we are not simply watching people do things; we are attending to the play as a thing that is more than the collection of actions performed. The play seems to have an existence beyond the human endeavor that instantiates it. It is simultaneously more and less than human: more because it's superordinate to human action and less because it's a mere object, lacking the evident subjectivity we prize in the human being.

Keep reading... Show less

Gabin's Maigret lets everyone else emote, sometimes hysterically, until he vents his own anger in the final revelations.

France's most celebrated home-grown detective character is Georges Simenon's Inspector Jules Maigret, an aging Paris homicide detective who, phlegmatically and unflappably, tracks down murderers to their lairs at the center of the human heart. He's invariably icon-ified as a shadowy figure smoking an eternal pipe, less fancy than Sherlock Holmes' curvy calabash but getting the job done in its laconic, unpretentious, middle-class manner.

Keep reading... Show less
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.