On “Oh, You’re Thinking of Moving to Berlin?” from Sweden-by-the-way-of-London based singer songwriter, Joshua Thomas Henry tackles the long distance break up with a sense of bittersweet melancholy and excitement for moving on. Utilizing an intricate finger-plucking pattern and a forlorn voice, Joshua Thomas Henry recalls the folk-rock revivalism that reached a watershed in the twenty-tens with artists like Conor Oberest and The Tallest Man on Earth. Like those artists, Joshua Thomas Henry is indebted to the 60’s and 70’s troubadour. Sensitive souls with a world-weary sound that never sounded too beaten down to fall head over heels in love, or to suffer deeply due to break ups.
On “Oh, You’re Thinking of Moving to Berlin?” Thomas recalls wistfully the contentment of letting a relationship end of its own volition. An active resistance to hold onto a relationship that is fraying at the edges instead of a frenzied defense of one’s ego that is wrapped up in a relationship that was never going to last in the first place. Sometimes putting some miles between you and an ex is the best cure for the mixed signals and confusion about making the right decision. On “Oh, You’re Thinking of Moving to Berlin?” Thomas asks his ex to disconnect from him entirely. There is no malice there, just a reminder not to call or show up. A finality that needs to be observed.
All of these complex emotions are given voice through Joshua Henry Thomas’s double-timed strumming, a traditional folk trope that highlights an urgency that needs to be released and strong banjo leads that follow the melody with an added sense of poignancy. A dusty piano finds its voice towards the end of the song after Thomas’s clever and sardonic turns of phrases have left their mark. “Oh, You’re Thinking of Moving to Berlin?” is a clever and bittersweet ode to being in a place in your life where you can break up with some grace. May we all find ourselves there some day.