Released: 2002, Metal Blade
This TY Tabor solo CD reminds me of a very similar situation I mentioned in another review in this feature (see: Magellan) that is, the artists desire to create art from joy, suffering and other personal experiences. My question is, because they can, should they always draw on intensely personal points for inspiration?
There is a very interesting note from Ty in the liner notes about how this record was made over three years during a time of terrible depression for him. I think I read it was during a divorce, but I’m not positive. He was not going to release it but his friends encouraged him, he wrote some more upbeat stuff to pad out the album and voila! Solo album!
Unlike the Magellan CD, I cannot fault Tabor for doing this solo album. I might question Metal Blade’s judgment on releasing it, but at least it was not a King’s X CD. I would have been far more critical if that was the case. After all that’s what solo albums are for, to explore things that just won’t fit in your main band. Having said, that, I don’t like the topics that Tabor is exploring. I’m happily married and several depressing songs don’t have the lyrical or emotional appeal to me. I can’t empathize with crushing heartbreak and depression and I hope never to be able to!
It might be unfair to draw comparisons to King’s X but I feel I must, if only to let fans of that band who may be curious about this solo CD. King’s X has always had great lyrics I felt but Ty has not transferred those lessons into his other work. There is an elegant simplicity to songs like “Missing Love” and “True Love” but often the words read as if they were written by a thirteen year-old girl. These lines are from the leadoff cut called “Tulip (Your Eyes)” and that should be warning enough. The lines are,
“And your eyes
Make me laugh
Make me cry
Make me feel that I can fly”
I know he can do better. “My Life’s a Funeral” is not much better. Yes he’s depressed but too depressed to write a decent metaphor or analogy for being depressed? This is definitely territory for the broken hearts.
The packaging is pretty budget, minimalist and low-key. He wrote and arranged and produced, mixed and mastered the entire thing as well as playing guitar, bass and singing. SAFETY is a true solo effort with long-time buddy Gerry Gaskill on the drums. If an entire album of slow-paced, broken-hearted rock that reminds you of the Beatles or the lesser of the King’s X ballads, is what it takes to get ol’ Ty back in the saddle then this album is well worth it. How often will I revisit this in years to come? Probably not very often. I admire the craft, I don’t feel the emotion and I’ll wait for the next thing. Pass the Jelly Jam please.