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Tomberlin, 'happy accident'

Sarah Beth Tomberlin, who performs as Tomberlin, opens "Happy Accident" with a question: "What's the point of this if I know how it ends?" She says the song is about relational obscurity: "Do you want to know me or just your idea of me? Do I want to know you or just my idea of you?" she asks in a press statement. In the song, Tomberlin explores these questions both lyrically and sonically, artfully flipping phrases as her perspective shifts and her euphonious voice hovers before building and booming over a heavy bass line. Biting her own lip with hesitation, she feigns indifference while navigating the in-between, barters her restraint and indulgence, and then closes the proximity by biting her lover's lip. Tomberlin doesn't find clarity, but over the course of nearly six minutes, she examines the intricacies of indulging in ambiguity.

Tomberlin leaves us by asking over a ringing guitar: "What's the point of this? I don't know how it ends."The track is the second single off Tomberlin's forthcoming album, i don't know who needs to hear this..., which will be her first full-length release since her quietly introspective 2018 debut, At Weddings. In "Happy Accident," that tenderness is still present, but Tomberlin compliments it with a louder, more potent arrangement. If this track is an indication of what's to come, it's the sound of an artist leveling up.

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Elle Mannion
[Copyright 2024 NPR]