Ian M. Hale: "Don't Say You Love Me"

Single (2008)

By Danny Roca | 3 December 2008

“Don’t Say You Love Me” is the debut single from Ian M. Hale, ahead of his debut album set for release in 2009. But, for me, it’s a first of a different kind. With its purposeful stomp, semi-acoustic guitar chops and infectious falsetto chorus, the song explodes with all the sunniness that artists like Brendan Benson seem to churn out effortlessly. And before you say it, even though Teenage Fanclub came close, they never managed to transcend their nonchalant vocals to fully let their power-pop shine. Ian’s voice however is as clear as a bell, powerful and endearing like a male Neko Case, occasionally cut with a deliciously florrid trill.

That Ian is first and foremost a folk singer, cutting his teeth touring around the UK but also in Seattle and at the Gabriola Folk Festival in British Columbia, makes this song a bit of an anomaly. But that’s neither here nor there. “Don’t Say You Love Me” is a gem that despite its tongue-in-cheek breakdown—replete with handclaps and the obligatory fuzz-guitar blow out to close—has the charm to have sat comfortably on Mass Romantic (2000).