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Tomberlin – ‘i don’t know who needs to hear this…’ Review

American singer-songwriter Tomberlin released her second album i don’t know who needs to hear this… and you definitely need to hear it.

MD Profile: Tomberlin

Sarah Beth Tomberlin, more commonly known as Tomberlin, is an American folk musician. According to her website, she was born in Florida and raised in Illinois. While at home, Tomberlin wrote most of her debut album. Eventually, she moved to Louisville, Kentucky, where she continued to write and compose songs, all while juggling a day job. She posted her songs to Bandcamp, which led to a record deal with Saddle Creek and the production of her first album, At Weddings (2018).

Tomberlin 2018
“Tomberlin 05/14/2018 #3” by jus10h is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Moving to L.A., Tomberlin wrote her EP Projections (2020), which followed her debut album. Since settling in Brooklyn, she recorded her second album live. The album, i don’t know who needs to hear this…, embodies Tomberlin’s artistic sincerity. Much of it was recorded live.

You need to hear ‘i don’t know who needs to hear this…’

The folk album begins with “easy,” an elemental recording full of vulnerable lyrics, muted drums, and disconcerting, atmospheric instrumentals. The song expresses the defeat and difficulty that comes with trying to be loved. Following that is “born again runner,” a sensitive, delicate song about Tomberlin’s relationship with her father, a pastor.

In the quiet, spacious “sunstruck,” Tomberlin sings about a broken relationship. She makes saying goodbye bittersweet, while also introducing hope in the new individuals the people learn to become. Similarly, the heart-wrenching “happy accident” expresses the uncertainty and doubt in liking someone who may or may not feel the same.

The album closes with Tomberlin’s simple, yet hopeful, “idkwntht.” The single came out at the beginning of 2022. It had fans ecstatic for her return after two years. Choosing the last song on her album to be her first single emphasizes her belief in the endless circle of beginning and ending. Brooklyn-based songwriter and producer Felix Walworth sings slightly behind Tomberlin, following her lead all through the song.

Tomberlin wears her heart on her sleeve in every song. She constantly opens herself up for her music, unraveling herself all over the album.

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