Words by Keane Fletcher

Sincerity gets a bad rap these days. Blame the state of the world; it’s much easier to embrace numbness at the moment than it is to examine your feelings too closely. And that’s why kudos must be given to up-and-coming singer-songwriter TOM, who’s debut single ‘Precious Heart’ isn’t afraid to wear its…well…heart on its sleeve. And though it may not be to every cynic’s taste, what the song lacks in grit it more than makes up for in its structured writing, precise lyrics, and deeply felt earnestness.

Driven predominately by acoustic guitar, ‘Precious Heart’ is the newest addition to the pantheon of better-to-have-loved-and-lost-than-never-to-have-loved-at-all songs and sees the singer praising a now defunct relationship while simultaneously lamenting its loss. In the hands of a lesser songwriter this kind of subject matter can run the risk of coming off glib, though thanks to the inherent authenticity of both TOM’s lyrics and vocals this is never the case. In fact, these areas are where the song shines the most, the vocals ranging from contemplative lows to heartfelt highs, the lyrics treading a fine path between universal experience and a nuanced specificity, particularly in the opening verse.

‘Precious Heart’ has also been completely self-produced, though this is where some of TOM’s inexperience comes into play, the instrumentation never fully rising to the promise of his song writing. However, the double-tracked vocals and stacked harmonies are a nice touch and help to keep the song’s feet firmly planted in pop territory. You can definitely hear the impact of his contemporaries on the song – indeed the song even references Shaun Mendes by name – though I couldn’t help but wonder what a rawer, more folk-influenced production style would have brought to the track, especially considering its preoccupation with roads, heartbreak and tears. I mean come on people! There’s some country music material right there; all it needs is a few 'darlins' and a slide guitar.

These are minor criticisms however, for with ‘Precious Heart’ TOM makes an impressively strong debut, and we here at Hipland couldn’t be more excited to see where his career will take him next. 

Check out our interview with TOM here!

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