It’s really interesting to watch an artist grow as they develop their sound during the course of their musical career. Some artists’ have their sound stay relatively the same only adding a few tweaks to fine tune it. Others make drastic (though proven to be successful) changes to their sound like going from country to pop (hi, Taylor Swift). And then, there are artists like Gavin DeGraw who are somewhere in the middle.
I have been a fan of Gavin DeGraw since his songs first hit the airwaves. I even remember when I saw his music video for “In Love With A Girl” for the first time. Now with a new album titled Something Worth Saving, he continues to accentuate a cool boy ease, only adding a hint of pop flare that makes his music seem effortless and playful.
His album cover alone visually stands out from the rest which gives us a hint as to what to expect. With a vibrant blue and the black birds flying away, the cover alludes to a shift in direction in his music; one that is more upbeat and less dark. Something Worth Saving begins with a song titled “She Sets The City On Fire” which has a light, flirty pop sound. It’s very catchy and has already caught the attention of radio stations. It’s definitely a radio-ready track that will easily capture the appeal of listeners, which will most likely broaden Gavin DeGraw’s fanbase.
The next track has a polar opposite sound to one that was found on “She Sets The City On Fire” which was upbeat. “You Make My Heart Sing Louder” is darker, edgier and reminds me of Gavin DeGraw’s music from his album, Make A Move. Something Worth Saving continues to exemplify on a melting pot of different sounds as it mixes rock and pop with its third track, “Kite Like Girl”. Gavin DeGraw released this track prior to the full album release to give his listeners a taste as to what’s to come.
My favorite track from the album is “Making Love With The Radio On” because it’s such a laid back song that is still sexy and as a band geek, I’m a sucker for songs that include horns and this track gives us just that. It perfectly mixes reggae, rock and pop and just makes you want to sway and sing along. I have replayed this song more times than I can count since the album’s release and have no regrets.
If you crave that rock vibe and reggae isn’t much for you, then “How Lucky Can A Man Get” is your go-to track. The lyrics aren’t what steal the show for me, it’s the horns once again. “Making Love With The Radio On” gives us a small taste of the horns being mixed into the song but “How Lucky Can A Man Get” definitely lets the horns loose and allows them to show off. They truly carry the song.
And did I just travel back in time and end up on the set of Grease? Because “Annalee” definitely has that swing beat that makes me want to pin up my hair and snap my fingers. Surprisingly, Gavin DeGraw’s slightly raspy voice gives the song a nice kick. The more times I listen to “Annalee”, the more it quickly becomes one of my favorites.
The album ends with the title track “Something Worth Saving” is definitely worth the title of the album because instead of layers of instruments, Gavin DeGraw gets to show off his vocals. This song is where the lyrics give you the feels. Gavin DeGraw exposes his vulnerability as the song starts off in a slow piano ballad. “Something Worth Saving” ends the album on an emotional note as it nicely brings the album full circle.
Overall, this is by the far the most diverse album we’ve heard from Gavin DeGraw yet. He’s able to find the right balance of edge and pop that is beautifully mastered. Each track has a distinct melody that encompasses a mix of pop, rock, reggae and swing. Though Gavin DeGraw’s continues to mature album by album, I’m still favoriting his older rock tunes that are edgy and darker than his current tracks. Perhaps I’m just holding on to his more rocker days a little too much but nonetheless, this album is a solid album that explores different textures of sound, emotion and depth.