On Sept. 4, I was scrolling aimlessly through my Instagram feed. Story after story, I continued to see my peers promoting the release of a new song called “Love Moat.”
As I usually do, I clicked past each post, not giving it a second thought. However, as soon as I saw the @novanationer Instagram account jump on board, I was intrigued. Learning that the singer and songwriter was Thomas Newton, a Villanova student, I decided to listen to the song. Admittedly, I did not have high expectations. This made it all the more shocking that within the first 30 seconds of the song, my eyes were wide, and my jaw hit the floor. I was sure I was listening to the start of something really special.
Newton is a sophomore mechanical engineering major from Haverford, Pennsylvania. His name is actually Thomas Ward, but he releases music as Thomas Newton (Newton is his middle name).
As an avid guitar player who admires artists like Guns N’ Roses, Newton started to seriously consider producing his first single this summer. Although having rock and pop influences, Newton is unsure about what genre he would describe his sound.
“I’m really early in finding my style and genre, but for now, I think I’m singer-songwriter and pop,” he said. “I’m open to trying new styles down the road and exploring new sounds.”
When describing the song, upon first listen, a word that immediately came to my mind was “refreshing.” Straying away from the overly-produced, electronic sound of modern radio hits, “Love Moat” is heavily based on guitar, showcasing Newton’s musical talents. His sound reminds me of the relaxing, uplifting vibe of indie folk artists, such as “Head and the Heart,” with the voice of male pop rock singers, like John Mayer.
As soon as I heard him sing, I thought to myself, “This sounds like Shawn Mendes...but better.”
Not only was I impressed by the sound and style of the song, but I also found the lyrics to be creatively crafted and moving. In “Love Moat,” Newton uses the visual of a moat as a metaphor for isolating oneself from love, scared to take that leap.
My favorite lyrics are found in the pre-chorus, ”Who can I be right now/To take this drawbridge down/ Who can I be right now/ To let this moat dry out.”
One of the most natural human desires is to feel connected with others, and when we feel like we ourselves are the biggest roadblocks to achieving this, it can be very frustrating. This part reminds me of that conflicting feeling. Therefore, it is the perfect lead up to the chorus, which realizes the importance of letting those walls down, ”Every highway/ Every road/ Love can take you home/ Every time I/ Built a Love Moat/ I was living on my own”.
When interviewed by Villanova Television, Newton reflected on this sentiment.
“Love Moat is the idea of finding your way through relationships,” he said. “No one can do anything on their own. It might take a song or a friend to tell you that, but you can’t live on your own.”
Since its Sept. 4 release, Newton’s song has accumulated more than 60,000 streams.