Tobias Jesso Jr.: Goon

Adele's new favorite piano man is a heartbroken charmer

Credit: Kai Jacobson

Paul McCartney, Harry Nilsson, Randy Newman — comparisons are inescapable for this 29-year-old singer-songwriter. But accusing Tobias Jesso Jr. of piano-rock plagiarism is like accusing Shake Shack of hamburger mimicry. His debut LP gathers 12 beautifully lean ballads sung in a vulnerable tenor, with vintage studio touches blended by sharp producers including JR White, Patrick Carney and Ariel Rechtshaid. If there's a theme, it's SoCal heartbreak. The narrator of "Hollywood” tries, fries, hears some lies and nearly dies in that snake-pit town; "Leaving LA” is an indelible lost-love lament. But cheer up, dude — with fans like Adele tweeting your music, you can move anywhere you like.