An interesting conundrum exists in today's contemporary music society. With the advent of massive studio production and mega-budget records that utilize every studio trick from Pro-Tools to AutoTune, people are losing faith in pop music. It’s gotten to a point where new musicians are being automatically dismissed for being too poppy, simply because people have gone to other extremes to, at the very least, find authenticity and sincerity in the performance and the production.
I prefer not to dismiss anything until I’ve heard it. I even listened to all of Justin Timberlake’s “Futuresex/LoveSounds” before I made the conclusion that it has one song on it that’s even listenable. I believe pop music has a much higher place of societal relevance than most musically educated critics believe and would have you believe.
Enter Jeff Tessler, a genuine pop musician hailing from California via Detroit. Jeff is a true musician with honest lyrics, and because he sings them melodiously in a pleasant tenor, a lot of critics and observers would have you believe that his sound is somehow of less significance than other underground musicians who disregard melody. I don’t want to be the one who bursts anyone’s bubble, but not all music played angrily and fast is done right.
Jeff’s songs are sweeping and catchy as anything. All of the songs on his debut EP (available on iTunes for five bucks) are beautifully penned and produced to accentuate his God given talent as a songwriter. The first track “What Did I Do” is an unfathomably catchy song that tells a story that pulls you right into it. The opening verse is played with acoustics and accenting piano, which bulilds into electric guitar, drums, and piano, and finally releases with the liftoff of the chorus. You can’t help but sing along with it’s infectious chorus “as I stare into your eyes, it made me think twice, what did I do, what did I do…”. The buildup and liftoff are characteristics of a true musician, they’re things you can find in songs by seasoned veterans like Train or Coldplay.
I could go on to describe what there is to love about every single track on his album but it would take pages and pages because there isn’t a single song that doesn’t meet up to the standards of pop rock perfection he’s set out to accomplish.
Other musicians that function in a similar vein as Tessler, would be, John Mayer (pre-blues), Ryan Cabrera, and Ashley Parker Angel. If any of those artists strike your fancy there’s really no reason not to like Jeff Tessler. Long live pop music!