Gavin Shane DeGraw returns with sixth album ‘Something Worth Saving’ and the New York born thirty nine year old is certainly showing no signs of slowing down a music career spanning fourteen years. The American singer – songwriter initially rose to fame with single ‘I Don’t Want To Be’, which became the theme song for television series ‘One Tree Hill’ and pop-rock artist ‘DeGraw’ has sold more than a million records in the US alone.
Enthusiastic and playful opener ‘She sets the city on fire’ sets perhaps a fresher and slightly more modern approach to this album in comparison to heavier previous album offerings such as ‘Chariot’ and the self-titled ‘Gavin DeGraw’. Up-tempo and pop-like with lyrics such as ‘She sets the city on fire, burns like a million lighters’ it has an wonderful anthemic quality.
Funky-pop of a romantic nature is evident in catchy track ‘You make my heart sing louder’. This is more evidence that ‘DeGraw’ is adopting a slightly different approach to this album, musically. The American rock vibe of previous albums appears to be a thing of the past and is replaced by a somewhat re-invented sound. The album becomes increasingly unpredictable still with electro pop tinged, acoustic offering ‘Kite like girl’. This track is perhaps slightly less optimistic, lyrically, as ‘DeGraw’ purrs out statements such as ‘She’s a Kite like girl, you’ve gotta let her fly away’- Strangely contradictory in contrast to the fun, up-tempo accompaniment in this offering.
The album is at times overbearing in what can be described as genre/style experimentation and when it comes to track ‘Making love with the radio on’ – one might be forgiven for believing that they have stumbled across a track featuring ‘Jason Mraz’ because the track is so very similar in style and vocal. Originality is wearing thin at times but the album possesses a duo of strong offerings in tracks ‘Say I am’ and ‘Something worth saving’- both tracks showcasing the strength of vocal and song-writing and are the obvious stand out tracks on the album. The former is a hearty ballad showcasing ‘DeGraw’s vocal ability to best effect and welcomes added depth from band instrumentation and dynamics. Closing track ‘Something worth saving’ is a beautiful, honest and affirming track with delicious chord changes and quite simply a song of quality both musically and lyrically.
It is encouraging to see an artist willing to adapt in line with a progressive industry and hence experiment at times whilst still retaining a signature sound. Fans of ‘DeGraw’ can expect to hear elements of the pop-rock style of previous albums and fresh genre influences, respectively. However at times, meddling styles and weaker tracks mean that the album’s merit relies on its strongest tracks. All in all, a fun, fresh, energetic album that is worth a listen if only for its superb ballads.
Released by RCA Records and available to stream via ‘Spotify’.
This Gavin DeGraw article was written by Bex Suchecki, a GIGsoup contributor