Album Rating: 7.5/10
We are living in the age of streaming where services like Spotify provides us with all the music that we could want at any time and anywhere. There are hundreds of thousands of playlists filled to the top with artists just waiting to be discovered. It takes a lot to stand out in the music industry especially in the fast-paced electronic world we live in; you have to provide something memorable or else you will be a song that someone hears on a playlist and never thinks about again. With all of that being said Tor Miller is not one of those artists you just pass over. His debut album American English is refreshing and tasteful, it offers a new sound that is simply too hard to ignore. It is overflowing with powerful piano ballads and heartfelt lyrics; all to be tied together by Miller’s mesmerizing voice.
The album is kicked off with Surrender and from the very first note you are pulled into the infectious song. Starting off with an electric hit on the piano that is layered with an echoing “Baby I surrender”. From there the track is slowed down to just Miller and his piano only to be gradually built up again. From the chorus on the song then possess a bit of everything from a string orchestra to rhythmic drums. This buildup throughout the song is repeated several times within the album with songs like Carter and Cash, Chelsea, and Always. With these songs Miller adds layers upon layers on top of his voice and the piano; by doing this he creates depth and dimension within tracks that can’t but help elicit the deepest of emotions from the listener.
Then of course when you have an artist who centers so much of his music around piano it is no surprise that his album possesses it’s fair share of ballads. Now there is something about a piano ballad that moves you in a way that is so unlike anything else. When it comes to Miller, maybe it’s the hypnotic way he plays like the piano as if it is an extension of himself or maybe it is the way his voice carries itself so effortlessly over top of the keys. Either way it seems as if he was made for ballads and it is represented fully on the album. Miller finds the perfect mix of solo piano and an overlapping string orchestra in songs like Stampede, Washington Square Park, and Baby Blue. Also you can’t forget to mention that the lyrics seem to ripped right from the pages of a diary and with every song the listener gets to peer slightly into a small part of Miller’s life.
With American English Miller pours his honest lyrics on top of his enchanting piano ballads and with that he provides something so unlike anything else around today; it almost feels as if he was plucked from a past era and gifted to us. Although the album may sound monotonous at times, it is actually the continuity of the tracks that ties it all together. Despite this being a debut album Miller has already mastered his own sound; making American English an enticing first chapter of what is sure to be one hell of a novel.