“Life is beautiful but can get hard at times” – Simply Tomas
Simply Tomas is an indie soft/alternative rock musician originating from Kenya. He draws on rock, African traditional music, reggae, Hip-hop & R&B to craft his own brand of music. He plays the guitar and is backed up by a rhythm guitarist, bass guitarist, keyboardist and a drummer. He started a solo career in December 2010 to experiment on new ideas and a new sound.
How do we define success? Success is constantly elusive. Like the song, Colossal Failure itself, there is no complete standard of satisfaction. The rhythm while pleasurable isn’t steady, Like it rides on two roads on at the same time. Almost as if asking what if this song was what you wanted it to be. Would you be satisfied? Would you cease from thirsting?
The theme here is of particular interest. It draws from Tomas’ main strength as a mellow musician to put out a piece that is to large degrees warm and colorful. But the melancholy in the singing is not so easy to place but at the same time present.
This song speaks of the realities of music and life in general. It is a simple story of the paths we make for ourselves. It is dilemma of the balance between doing what we love and how the closest people in our lives esteem us. How do the judging eyes of the world see us. How do those whom we love, those fragile lives that we work so hard to preserve, the ones that depend on us, how do they see us. It is a picture of everyday life that mixes the simplicity of human interaction where we are both loved unconditionally but expected to live according to ideal standards, standards of success. As a parent, what will my daughter’s friends think of her father. How does her mother’s relationship with me shape her view of the world? but she still loves unconditionally. She plays without a care. Life is simple in its complexity.
Colossal Failure is beautiful yet unsettling. There is an aching. The heart like in a dream, bears that perpetually sinking feeling. In the great tumble it poses questions that it may grope at. In the tumble towards oblivion, there are no answers to hold. But we enjoy the ride anyway. Just as we enjoy this song. He points out the well from which he draws inspiration.
That dynamic defines Tomas music at this point in his career. It is a link that Tomas builds from his first single ‘Tafadhali’. A song he defines as “a story of perseverance, dedication and eventually success”. He restates the point, shifts the “eventually” goalpost in ‘Colossal Failure’. He questions the validity of success. In colossal failure, success is a set of circumstances that is essentially transient, an elusive prize. Mission impossible. Like a hamster on a treadmill.
It is both sweet and dissonant, dominated heavily by an enchanting rhythm of playfully flowing keyboards.
The song announces itself as an emotionally intelligent piece, posing questions that are hard to answer. Or is there an answer at all? Maybe that is the point. We do what we love. We are revered by others and despised at the same time. Somehow in someone’s eyes we are colossal failures.
This review is written by Dani Kobimbo, a guest reviewer. Dani is a mindless critic that dreams of creating a utopia of African Sounding rock music. Dani runs the awesome Kenyan rock blog, Heavy and the Beast, be sure to check it out!
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