Tom Chaplin – The Wave (Deluxe Edition) Review

Tom Chaplin - The Wave

Following from his days in Keane, lead singer Tom Chaplin has decisively chosen to release his first debut solo album, sparking a collection of new challengers for the singer, including writing and producing an album for the first time, something previously done by Keane pianist Tim Rice-Oxley, who himself has made efforts outside of Keane with the Country effort, Mt Desolation.

With The Wave, Tom Chaplin delivers a heartfelt narrative of the past few years, including struggles and moments in his life, his continued struggle with addiction bringing the singer to a make or break situation, to more somber tracks such as ‘Quicksand’ for his daughter.

In many ways The Wave does feel like a Keane album, though in many others Tom Chaplin does bring his own spring on things. Whilst the lyrics and production may not reach the top quality from Keane’s hits, they all reach the right note and in some ways excell in their own right making The Wave really worth it for the Keane fan. It’s also worth noting we’re reviewing the Deluxe Version of the album, which in many ways is more consistently good than the traditional 11 track album.

rating4Still Waiting

Still Waiting is a shift between a ballad and some gospel choir song, especially as the song progresses and the backing builds in. Still Waiting talks of a character who’s lost full self confidence and after reaching their darkest times wonders if anyone is really out there who still can appreciate them as they build themselves up again.

Lyrically Still Waiting contains some rather haunting vocals, musically though whilst the song is a good one from the album, it does fade to resonate and is a track easy to forget and fails to stick in you. Being a piano driven track it’s very clear this could easily have been a Keane track, though that’s a trend you’re going to feel throughout the album, it’s not just Tom’s vocals that lead you to that conclusion.

Still waiting

Forever left to wonder why

Still Waiting

In truth I know that really I’m

Still out there, Still waiting

A wondering ghost for evermore

Still out there, still waiting

I feel like I’ve been here before

rating3.5Hardened Heart

Hardened Heart is a nice song with a beautiful message. The song speaks of someone going through tough times leading them to gage towards depression, however the song doesn’t speak of that depression, it speaks of someones realisation that their problems are soon to cause them, to potentially lose everything they love, and finally realising that they should really snap out of it, and focus on getting better, as once they do they won’t hurt everyone they know and effect the ones around them.

Hardened Heart for this reason is one of the more uplifting songs on The Wave, though it does share that same rather forgetful sting shared with Still Waiting.

Hurting everyone I know, bringing everybody down so low

Stuck among the road of sadness with nowhere to go

Here’s hoping that the signs are real and tomorrow with a spring in my heal

Somewhere on the road of sadness, lies a better deal.

rating4The River

The River mixes between an acoustic piano driven story, in to a sudden synth driven pop song, which due to this the song will take a few listens to grow on you, but it luckily does which is great. Thanks to this The River feels like song that builds up in to a great pop song, and one which you feel you join in to, which is quite frankly about time, I know we’re only at track 3 but it’s great to have a great song to talk about, that sticks in your head afterwards.

But every time I go back there, I feel I’m winding up no where

Why keep asking it to deliver, When though days are down to the river

It’s gotta be time that I move on, The good old days they are long gone

Let it carry me into the future

Out of the background, Into the foreground

Giving it all to the river

rating3Worthless Words

Worthless Words is a sombre number and probably the saddest song on the album, but contains quite frankly a beautiful middle 8, which is rather unfortunate is only done the once through the song, which does make the song feel more half baked that any other on the album.

The song speaks of a plea of forgiveness and how words such as I’m sorry are literally just worthless words. It goes without saying that if you want to feel a bit better on a glum day, this isn’t the song to play.

Gave my faithful heart, Over to rack and ruin

Cracked and crushed somewhere

Another star-crossed has been, Lost a world away

These worthless words I say

Like sorry

rating4I Remember You

After the low mood of Worthless Words, I Remember You kicks in with a shaking tambourine and an up tempo start in to what is a great pop song, however it’s clear that that was the attempt from the start, so if you’re looking for a great written song, you won’t find it here. What you’re left with is an upbeat pop song with some pretty poor lyrics, to the point where you can expect the rhymes coming.

The song isn’t great, but it’s uplifting and deserves an extra star just for taking the mood left from the previous track.

Cause I remember you, You are really me

Drowning in the sea, Swallowed by the rush of the rising tide

Tethered to a rock, And picking at a lock

All the while the fire inside you dies

So what else can I do, But remember you

rating4.5Bring the Rain

Bring the Rain is an interesting one, you’ve robotic vocals in the verses, melodic vocals in the bridges, then bang you’ve a powerful chorus, which just translate to a great track, one which very easily could have been on Keane’s last ‘Strangeland‘ album. The song doesn’t seem to have any specific meaning other than setting the tone to the album, but what you’re left with a really great song with a powerful melodic beat which perfectly suit Tom’s vocals.

So bring the rain, Flood the skies

‘Til the earth, Is fit to burst

Springing into life

Thunderclouds, Fill the skies

‘Til the earth, Is fit to burst

Springing into life

rating3.5Hold On To Our Love

If Worthless Words had some work and the mood was better, you’d get Hold On To Our Love. You don’t have as much of a low mood, but what you do have is a song which flows much better throughout. Hold On To Our Love is a rather says it as it comes song, the song speaks of a character singing to their partner that no matter what happens going forward, we’ve always got the love between us to make us stronger and it’s that which will keep everything going, if the love is strong enough.

The only part which really doesn’t suit the song is where Tom Chaplin attempts lower keys in the near end, which not only sound like he misses the note, but just don’t suit the song at all, which is a shame as other than that you’ve a good song.

So we’ve gotta hold on to our love

Drag our bones from the dust

We have gotta hope, we’re strong enough

Whatever the world throws at us

We have gotta hold on to our love

rating5Quicksand

Quicksand is the pure definition of both pop, and a perfect anthem, so it makes complete sense that it’s the lead single from The Wave. Tom Chaplin wrote Quicksand for his daughter and the song perfectly personifies the message of ups and downs of growing up and that she can rely on unbound protection.

Quicksand is uplifting, powerful and whilst it may sound easily the most commercial track off the album, that doesn’t change the fact that it’s a powerful one, whether studio version or live.

Love’s gonna leave you broken, Time’s gonna work you over
You get up, you get up. You keep rolling on
Life’s gonna bring you glory, But there’s another side to the story
You get up and suck it up
You keep rolling on

But if you crashland in the quicksand
I will pick you up, I’ll pull you out
And if the world shakes
Your brittle heart breaks
We will patch it up, we’ll work it out

rating2.5Solid Gold

Solid Gold is a no nonsense acoustic melodic track, which does sound rather lazily sang, but that’s not the first time we’ve noticed that in recent times Tom’s been singing, put the effort in Tom!

Solid Gold isn’t a bad song, but it’s definitely not a great one, the production sounds rather uninspired and add that to the vocals we mentioned and it’s hard to enjoy too much.

And now I see it now I’m certain

I see you with my eyes opened

Trusting that our love

Our love is enough

Solid gold and perfect to the touch

rating4See It So Clear

See It So Clear is another track which whilst may try a bit too hard to be unique, actually pulls it off. Unlike Bring the Rain, this doesn’t use any vocal effects, but it does make for a great effect throughout. The effect use actually through the song reminds us actually of the background of the Keane track ‘Bedshaped’.

Where See It So Clear shines however is in the build and the pure sing-a-long chorus which is more like an anthemic church hymn, but it works and it’s one of our more favourable tracks on the standard version of The Wave.

Oh I see it now, see it now, Look back and see

From shadows, the loneliness, reaching for me

I will give it a home so it’s never alone

It was buried so deep

But I see it now, see it now, Look back and see

From shadows, the loneliness, reaching for me

I will give it a home so it’s never alone

Now there’s nothing to fear, I see it so clear

rating3The Wave

Typically when an artist or band has an album titled after a track, it’s near-on one of the best songs on the album, can’t really say that about The Wave. The song The Wave is a perfect example of an artist taking the theme of an album slightly too literally, which is the area where it suffers the most, and those who’ve purchased the Deluxe version of the album, which we’ll get to, will be happy to know the album stops the over-theme-led songs here.

Suppose if you think about it The Wave is the theme song for the album, though where it attempts to stand out, it just falls flat.

Carried by the wave, Carried by the wave

My soul surrendered to the undertow

Driven by the tide, I’m headed for the shore

These lonely, scattered pieces heading home

Like it was before, Joined forever more

These lonely, scattered pieces heading home

Heading home

———-DELUXE ALBUM———-

If we were to review the Standard version of The Wave, we honestly wouldn’t be that impressed, but luckily there’s a Deluxe Edition of the album! Now, we’re going to move on to the Deluxe side of the album, the five bonus tracks that come as part of the Deluxe Album.

rating5Better Way

Better Way is a perfect pop song, it’s got the inviting vocal driven verses which with a helpful bridge perfectly invite the powerful chorus which you can’t help but sing a long too, which is what any pop song should do. Better Way speaks of finding alternate ways of doing things in life after struggles to get to where you’ve been heading, which is a pretty relatable and uplifting message which matches the songs chirpy mood perfectly.

We love it from the start to the ending with the backing better way pride a day, moving on. This is what the Standard album should feel like.

I’ll find a better way, I’ll find a pride a day

I’m moving on

So when tomorrow comes, before my race is run

I’m moving on

rating5Turning Back

Turning Back is a fantastic track, whilst it’s not exactly a cheerful one it’s perfectly produced. Turning Back speaks of a disconnection between one and the other, but does it so beautifully it’s hard not to love the track. Whilst the song is simple, it’s the delivery which takes you away to another world with it, which we just love. We also love the three part middle with “I”, “You” and “I’ve” in the near to the last chorus, which just set the mood so perfectly for a final take on the chorus as the song keeps up the same swinging sound throughout.

No you are not turning back and searching for me girl

You left me on the road, a million miles from home

No you are not turning back, so give me a reason

You left me on my own, a million miles from home

rating5Love Wins

Love Wins is easily our favourite track on the album, from the subtle clicking, the minute backing to the beautiful vocals, and even to the message it delivers everything you look for a perfect pop song. You’ve got the message, the vocals you can’t not join in on and the music to match it perfectly.

Tom actually stated the song was written in support for same-sex marriage, which we personally can’t see a connection in with the song, other than the song speaks of no matter what happens or other people say, in the end Love will always “win”, and come out on top.

Love wins, love wins, It brings us in,

Refuge in our darkest times

Pointing us where to go, Through these black and lonely nights

Love wins, love wins, Yeah out it springs

From the very darkest times,

Guiding us where to go, When we’re grappling for a sign

And from that black shadow, We’ll find hope I know

It will end where love begins,

Love wins.

rating5Cheating Death

Cheating Death went from one of our least, to one of our most, favourite tracks on the album in the space of around five listens, the song speaks of the struggles a character is going through and how they’ve lost touch of reality and how close they were to losing it all, including themselves, esc. cheat death. Our favourite part of Cheating Death is how it starts so basic, and just continues to build, and build and before you know it you’re left with such an uplifting and perfect end, which to us, makes us think this should have been the last track as it ends perfectly after saying everything it intended.

So, just keep believing, till your dying day

Don’t let the night in, keep lighting your way

You’ve got the strength, to go on

Search in yourself, and be strong

rating1Bound Together

Bound Together just has us thinking why? After ending so perfectly after the uplifting Better Way, the beautiful Love Wins and the powerful Cheating Death, the album caps things off with this, the worst track on the entire album. Bound Together is a simple guitar and vocal smash of dribble, which never builds and seems to never end, to the point of which we’d suggest if you download the album, skip this one. It’s that bad.

We, weathered a storm, Battered and broken

Still we are bound together

Love, love is a threat, We were torn open

But we are bound together


Rating 4

The Wave is a valiant effort and delivers a collection of great tracks you’ll be singing for years to come.

The Wave isn’t the best album you’ll hear, but definitely a great effort by Tom Chaplin, it features a collection of incredible songs, though it’s more than fair to say you’re much better off purchasing or listening to the Deluxe version of the album as that’s where the consistently, aside from one, better side of the album is, though we’re not sure why Bound Together, not only ends the album, but it is even on the album at all. Other than that, a valiant effort.

The Wave by Tom Chaplin is available at all music resellers, as well as digital channels, some of which are listed below;

Download on iTunes Download on Play Music Download on Amazon MP3

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