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Tomas Doncker’s ‘The Mess We Made’ a brilliant, socially charged R&B/blues album

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In a world where political correctness has taken over, Tomãs Doncker isn’t afraid to tell it like it is.

On his new R&B/blues album “The Mess We Made,” Doncker, a New York City-based singer, touches on homelessness, police brutality, racism, misinformation and the “Bullshit” in the way revolutions are “looking for corporate sponsorship.”

While these topics may seem heavy, Doncker presents them in a way that takes nothing away from the quality of the music. Even if you couldn’t understand what the lyrics meant you could still enjoy the sounds.

Take for example, “Church Is Burning Down,” the second track on the album. Doncker sings, “My church is burning down, see my church go in flames, your method terrorism burning crosses on the lawn, no no no….”

And yet, the real mastery comes in the way Doncker approaches this subject. It’s not depressing, it doesn’t sound preachy, it’s brisk pace, the uplifting sound in his voice, it’s a wonderful counterbalance to the message that doesn’t put you in a horrible mood, but rather makes you think about what he’s saying.

The title track, the best song on the album, hits you with a smokey, laid back sound that sets the scene for the truth bombs Doncker drops left and right.

Photo by Alan Roche.
Photo by Alan Roche.

“Should’ve known better, but I was so afraid cause I drank the poisoned sweet Kool aid and I’m drowning in this mess we made,” he sings. “Gotta get my mind right, now, but I couldn’t put down my damn smartphone, reality hit me then it left me the hell alone to swim in a social media and row just like a stone.”

All things considered, it’s probably one of the most modest song on the album in terms of social commentary, but it’s catchy as hell, and it hearkens to something you’d hear from Marvin Gaye or Sly and the Family Stone back in the day.

That’s followed up by “Don’t Let Go,” a song that gave me chills. It’s a track that approaches homelessness in a real, authentic way.

It’s a song that masterfully puts you in the shoes of a man who’s forced from his home due to not having enough money to afford it. It’s one of the few songs that can be best described as depressing, and with good reason. However, it’s a stylistic choice that makes sense and coming at in almost any other way would not have been as effective.

Doncker said the idea for the album came the day of the Charleston Massacre on June 17. In an interview with the Huffington Post, Doncker said it was that event that, “Pushed me over the edge. I was overwhelmed with rage, hatred, confusion and disillusionment… so, in a selfish attempt to maintain my own sanity, I did the only thing I could do — Write about it.”

Within just 10 days he had four songs written and finished the other four within just 10 days. And while completing something in such a short time runs the risk of making something sound rushed, if I hadn’t read that Doncker finished “The Mess We Made” in such short time, I would have never known. That, I think, speaks to his talent as a musician and the fact that he’s been a professional singer/songwriter/producer/guitarist for more than 20 years.

Hearing socially charged songs in 2015 is so rare it seems anymore, that when an artist pulls back the covers and releases such a passionate set of songs that speak to the horrible things happening around us, it should be celebrated.

For more on Doncker, check him out on Facebook, Twitter and his webpage.

Editor's Rating

9.0
On "The Mess We Made" New York-based singer Tomas Doncker releases a set of honest, socially conscious songs about issues such as racism, police brutality and homelessness.
0 User ratings
9.0

PROS

While the topics he covers are heavy, the music for the most part serves as a nice counterbalance. You won't feel bummed out the entire time while hearing these songs, although he does choose to pair the lyrics with a depressing tone on select tracks.

CONS

While done well, in a way I wish Doncker could have included another original track on the album aside from a cover of U2's "Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For." It's an original take on the song, but Doncker's other tracks are much better than this cover.
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