If you like piano-driven alternative-pop with lyrics that tell a story, you need to listen to Tim Halperin. After getting his big start as a Top 24 semifinalist on Season 10 of American Idol, Tim has been constantly on-the-go with his career, making great music as frequently as I struggle to wake up and get out of bed in the mornings. His sincere songwriting coupled with his smooth and soulful voice has made him one talented singer/songwriter to watch, and his latest album is a testament to that fact.
Heart Tells Your Head is Tim’s sophomore independent release (a follow-up to his post-Idol effort, Rise and Fall), and features what the musician considers to be a collection of his best songs yet. Upon first listen, it became clear that his writing has matured and progressed into material that is even more personal and meaningful as ever.
Here’s a track-by-track review of the heartfelt and soulful Heart Tells Your Head:
1. Stuck In The Middle
I can’t watch you go / You leave me all alone
The lead track deals with the heartbreaking dilemma of a couple that has different destinations in sight; the girl desires a life out west in California, with big ideas and dreams, while the guy is content with the comforts of his hometown of Texas.
2. The Criminal
Put your hands up ’cause you are a criminal / You stole my heart again
The guy is a frequent victim of a repeat offender, of stealing and breaking hearts wherever she pleases. While it’s always inevitable that she gets caught in the act, he just can’t seem to resist her sweet attack, but when he finally makes a break from her charms, he vows to not forget what she did.
Holy water come down and save me from myself / fill this empty well
‘Cause all is not well
As a prayer for guidance in the search for truth, in the facing of fears, and in the journey for love, this song serves as a powerful reminder of the force of faith. With pain and darkness trying hard to overcome him, his will to ask God for the strength to keep believing only becomes stronger.
4. Heart Tells Your Head
When your heart tells your head / She’s as good as it gets
The flirtatious title track is about the all too familiar sensation of falling in love at first sight and being consumed by what you see (“I look at you and come alive”), with the promises of doing whatever it takes to hold on to the individual of your affection (“I won’t let me let you down”).
5. Hey 17 (feat. Trip Lee)
I was just a kid / I didn’t mean to do the things I did
I was just a kid / I wish it didn’t have to be like this
So someone tell me why it’s gotta be like this
Featuring an effective verse from Christian rapper, Trip Lee, this emotionally-raw and real song tells the tale of a troubled teenager who is stuck inside a world of loss, grief, and guilt, and is seeking salvation from the pain in his soul from a higher power.
Jolene can’t you see? / I’m not the guy that I wanna be
You’re holding rainclouds over me / And secretly I know
You got me where you want
Decorated with dark imagery of rainclouds, shadows, haunting dreams, and daggers, this dramatic track is about a destructive girl who finds satisfaction in playing mind games. While the guy in question is paralyzed under her spell, he finds himself imagining the day when he gets to run away and watch it all end in flames.
7. Think I’m In Love
Everywhere I go / I just want to see you there
This is a beautiful ballad about reaching that revelation of having fallen deeply in love, and realizing that after being with that special someone, you are now who you were meant to be. With this person, looking ahead to the horizon doesn’t seem scary at all.
8. Cross That Line
I won’t stop ’til I cross that line / You won’t hold me back this time
This inspirational anthem was written by Tim for the American Cancer Society’s Relay For Life race, which supports the fight against cancer. The song advocates for bravery and solidarity, urging us to let go of fear, put our heads up, and face our battles in order to beat the odds and finish strong in whatever challenge we’re up against. “Cross That Line” can easily be used as a personal theme song for those facing adversity in their lives.
9. Dear Sophie
Go on and dream as big as the sea / But don’t let the tide take you too far from me
Go on and find who you wanna be / And know that my love for you will never leave
Tim wrote this sweet lullaby for his little niece, Sophie. He shares his feelings from the first moment he saw her (and fell in love) and to his hopes and wishes for the bright future (filled with people, places, and dreams) he envisions for her, along with his promise to “be a fan of whatever you are” and to be there through the good and bad days to come. This song brings on the tears and warm fuzzies and makes me want give my own little niece a great big hug.
10. Heal This Broken Heart
Grace has come / And it’s what you’ve done / It makes me love you
This deeply spiritual song praises God for the sweet mercy that helped the speaker to see and the unconditional love that made him feel whole. Through grace, a peace divine to cross the great divide was found and life will no longer be the same.
11. If You Just Stay
Your smile, it sends my burdens about a million miles away
I’ll have everything I need / If you just stay
This is a love song about writing the perfect love song about that can’t-live-without-you kind of love that makes you feel so whole. The line about how all of their chapters have led to this happy ever after is a perfect sentiment to end this album on.
Tim has a innate knack for writing catchy melodies and thoughtful lyrics that strike a chord in your heart and your head, which he successfully does on this appropriately named album, which advocates for listening to your heart and to your head. These songs cover universal themes of Faith (“Truth”, “Hey 17”, “Heal This Broken Heart”), Hope (“Cross That Line”, “Dear Sophie”), and Love (“Stuck In The Middle”, “The Criminal”, “Heart Tells Your Head”, “Jolene”, “Think I’m In Love”, “If You Just Stay”) with sensational results.
What’s commendable about Tim as an artist is how he uses his songs to help causes close to his heart. In memory of his mentor and supporter, the late DJ Kidd Kraddick (for whom Heart Tells Your Head is dedicated to), 15% of the album sales will be given to Kidd’s Kids, a non-profit organization founded by Kidd Kraddick to bring joy to the lives of chronically and terminally ill children by sending their families to Disney World. Now that’s a fantastic example of music healing hearts!