Minneapolis-based pop/rock singer/songwriter Tim Mahoney expresses considerable romantic ambivalence on his self-released album, the appropriately titled Stay/Leave. On song after song, Mahoney's first-person narrator addresses a potential romantic partner, a current girlfriend, or a soon-to-be-ex-lover, and if he hasn't got her he tries to get her, but if he's got her, he tries to get rid of her, that is, when he can even make up his mind. "You don't want to date a guy like me," he warns in "Guys Like Me," but that's really just a come-on, as he makes clear in other songs. And yet, perhaps he's right, since, once the girl seems to be hooked, he's declaring (as he does in "Leave"), "Leave if you're honest." Of course, it may not be fair to ascribe a consistent persona to these different love songs, especially since Mahoney is really more interested in creating pop confections than expressing his feelings. His writing tends to be cliché-ridden, and when he tries to revise the clichés, he can be confusing. (What does "You're acting like a bitch out of water" mean, exactly?) He sets his songs to appealingly melodic pop/rock, creating the sort of arrangements in which the catchy chorus is never far away, and it gets repeated often. If there's one thing he really is passionate about, however, it's becoming a pop star, which he investigates in his own version of "So You Want to Be a Rock ‘n' Roll Star" or "Overnight Sensation (Hit Record)," a song called "Big Hit Song." Here, he explains that he's been at this for 14 years and been rejected in Los Angeles, where he was told that he needed a big hit song. That's not really surprising, though, since his music is obviously oriented toward commercial pop, and the avenue for success in 2007 probably involves licensing a song to a TV show and a push at Adult Top 40 radio. Any number of songs on this album could go that route, and if so, Tim Mahoney finally might get out of Minneapolis, which would resolve his "stay" vs. "leave" issue for good.
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AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann