The soft voice of a country temptress guides us through the layers of melodies that are arranged for all to behold in Tommy Botz’s “Teddy Bear,” but it stands as but one of the many cosmetic features that make this new single as alluring and captivating as it is. The real treasure to be sought after in this track is its sterling lyrical content, the substance of which is derived from our songwriter’s exploration of his own relationship with youth, the concept of growing older and our own mortality, as well as a contemplative look at what it means to find wisdom in age. We sort through a child’s toy chest, coming across everything from Raggedy Ann dolls to teddy bears and other symbols of innocence that instantly trigger an ocean of memories upon seeing them after so many years. We struggle with the singer to reconcile the past with the present, the love in our hearts with the pain that comes when realizing just how fleeting our childhoods really can be – and almost always are. It all adds up to comprise a gripping thrill ride for listeners that Tommy Botz deserves full credit for.
Musically, “Teddy Bear” is as stirring in its instrumental prowess as it is in its lyrical magic, and that’s really saying something when we isolate the two and study their various intricacies (all of which receive top shelf treatment behind the soundboard, allowing for us to really appreciate just how dexterous a songwriter Botz really is). The guitar parts signify the strongest country influence here, but other than that there’s actually a lot of ground touched upon that exists well outside of the Nashville aesthetical spectrum.
The bassline has a reverent pop feel, while the percussion and the way that it plays off of the keys sounds much more classical and conservative in nature, especially when compared to the other elements in the track. Tommy Botz is getting his fair share of attention from the country community right now, but I think that there needs to be just as much focus given to his erudite swing and interesting use of texture in this song, which possibly could be hinting at more experimental music to come further down the line.
No matter what kind of sound you consider to reign supreme, you’d be hard pressed to find a more emotionally charged and sharply produced single this winter than you will in Tommy Botz’s very own “Teddy Bear,” which is an early standout in a year that is geared up to be one of the more exciting times for independent artists that we’ve got to experience in a while. “Teddy Bear” doesn’t suffer from the same trite, recycled stylization that a lot of similarly crafted country songs do, and I thoroughly believe that it’s exclusively because of Botz’s approach to writing. I’ll have to hear more of his material to be certain, but for the time being I would have to say that there isn’t a songwriter active in the game today doing what he does even half as well as he’s doing it in this amazingly smart single.
by Bethany Page
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