By: Jeremy Fleischer
3 out of 5 Stars
The cover of Andy Sydow’s third and most recent collection of songs, A Little Messed Up, is a hypercolored Rorschach test splash. It looks like a — well, perhaps that something we keep to ourselves. Andy Sydow, however, doesn’t hold back from sharing on the album. The first song, “Alibi,” a barroom piano ditty, begins, “Everyone knows I’m a little messed up / Put Baileys in my coffee as a cover up.”
Sydow moves from piano to guitar, but he retains the confessional songwriting style of other piano songwriters, like Billy Joel and Randy Newman. Though he’s a young guy, there’s a certain curmudgeonly grumpiness to his songs. On “Another Love Song,” the songwriter laments audiences desire to hear more love songs, claiming he once wrote a song about religion but he lost half his fans. The third song spells out its mood in the title, “If I Grew a Violet (You’d Ask for a Rose).”
So many singer-songwriters are earnest and sweet that it’s refreshing to hear Andy Sydow’s humbug perspective. He has a voice well suited to his worldview and a knack for crafting songs that will captivate you for the moment. But yeah, he seems a little messed up.