Tag Archive: Gavin DeGraw

Gavin DeGraw – Free

Gavin DeGraw penned Free in less than two weeks and had released it around 10 months after his second album, the self-titled Gavin DeGraw, on March 31st 2009. His first two albums had really stood out to me as the best i’ve heard from any male singer-songwriter, so could Free be another to add to my collection? On the first listen, simply no. It can’t be compared to the other two, but I found it almost disappointing when I first heard it, with no track standing out very well. But, and this is a big but, as i’ve listened to it more, i’ve started to appreciate it for what it is. So if you enjoy it on your first listen, then brilliant. If not, don’t give up on it just yet, I’d say it’s a grower.

Indian Summer is the first track, and it’s a different start to what we’re used to. A slower arrangement, and not the instruments we’re used to. It’s a more simpler arrangement. Similar to the likes of Chariot (Stripped). This gets better the more you listen to it, with a slight bluesy feel to it.

Free is next, again with the slower tempo. You get the feeling that this album has a relaxed feel to it, as we’ve had a more up-tempo kind of DeGraw that we’re used to. The song picks up towards the second half, as Gavin plays with the notes of the song, using his falsetto that we’ve become accustomed to, to great effect.

Stay follows and was scheduled as the first single from the album. The song is centered around the piano rather than the guitars. In my opinion, I think it was the incorrect single choice for the album, as it seems like it doesn’t fit in well with the rest of the album. The song is just okay, but it feels like a reject of the previous album.

Mountains To Move is next, and follows the same pattern as the first two songs. I’d probably say that the song was forgettable, as it feels a lot more like background music. But it depends what mood you’re in, because this song would be great if you just need to relax while reading a book or a quick nap.

Glass follows and I’d have chosen this as the first single. Even though it’s not an up-tempo classic, and usually isn’t great to start off with a slow song for your first release. It’s my favourite off the album and definitely positioned in the right place to bring you back in favour of the album after the previous track.

Lover Be Strong is next, and isn’t the most perfectly melodic track we’ve heard from him, as some of the notes feel like they’re not quite “there”. The chorus structure is well thought out and I like the idea of what he decided to do. But something doesn’t quite feel right.

Dancing Shoes follows, with a lovely little piano intro which I could hear over and over. This is actually a really good track, DeGraw’s voice and just a piano is perfect for this album. His voice and piano playing work in unison to produce this great track.

Waterfall is next and has a “Mountains To Move” feel to it. The track has a chilled out feel to it, but it really picks up in quality towards the end, with DeGraw going into his upper range which we’re greatly familiar with.

Why Do The Men Stray is the last track on the album, and it polishes off the slower, chilled-out feel to the album. This track almost feels like DeGraw has a sore throat, and he’s whispering the song to you, but his voice is tuneful along with the acoustic guitar, so we can forgive him for that.

Overall, Free wasn’t what I was expecting. I thought we’d been spoiled by the prospect of another album so soon, but this album feels like it’s “one for the fans” with just him and his piano or guitar. I definitely prefer it more now than I did when I first heard it, as I was a little disappointed to begin with. I would have given this about a 3 before, but it’s grown on me, so i’ll award it a fair 6/10.


Gavin DeGraw – Gavin DeGraw

Following the reasonable success to Chariot, mainly due to his song I Don’t Want To Be being featured on an American teen drama, Gavin DeGraw had to prove that he’s much better than a TV show one-hit-wonder like I, and few other people, know he is. Gavin DeGraw was released on May 6th 2008 and I was eagerly awaiting to see what this man could produce in comparison to his previous album. I had high hopes, but in the back of my mind, I truly doubted that this album would come close to topping Chariot.

In Love With A Girl is the title track, and was the debut single. Straight away, with the guitar riff hitting you like a left-hook, you know this album’s coming out trying to prove something to every listener. This song has the perfect balance of rocky guitars and melodies to keep you in love with this song for a long time, it’s certainly my favourites from the album.

Next To Me (Wait A Minute Sister) is the next track, and it has a fantastic intro. DeGraw’s lyrics are as creative as they’ve ever been. He sings “Wait a minute sister, I know I ain’t your mister yet.” during the chorus, which is also just as good as the verse.

Cheated On Me follows, and as DeGraw starts off with “I’m lovesick somewhere tonight” you have a pretty good idea of what the song will be about. I love the piano in the background of the chorus after each line escalating higher with 5 chords, it always draws my attention.

I Have You To Thank is next, and has a more dancy feel to it. The chorus is brilliant, with the melody so catchy and lyrics so simple, but effective. They flow so easily and make the song sound so much better because of it.

Cop Stop follows and what you notice most in this song is the chorus, where DeGraw backs up his vocals with “I’m a cop, stop, baby i’m a cop, stop” after each chorus lyric. You also notice during the end of a chorus, he uses his falsetto on the word “me” in the final line “..and surrender to me.” which i’m not really sure i’m too keen on. It just doesn’t feel right to me there.

Young Love is next, and it’s a much slower song than the previous, which is a good thing as this song is tender and meaningful. It’s one of my favourite songs from the album, with the chorus melody hooking you in and convincing you to sing along.

Medicate The Kids begins and we hear “Tell her say no to drugs” as we hear another pharmaceutical-themed song make one of his albums. But that doesn’t matter too much, as the chorus brings you the perfect melody, backing vocals and harmonies to satisfy your every need.

Relative is next and the first verse pulls you in as you listen to DeGraw tell you what isn’t quite like something else. The chorus is also the high point of the song, it’s high-spirited and catchy, and that’s what we love him for.

She Holds A Key is a slower song also, with soft electric guitar and a more dominant piano. This ballad is perfect for showing of DeGraw’s vocal range.

Untamed is next and brings the album back to a faster pace. The chorus is particularly memorable, with DeGraw’s harmonies standing out.

Let It Go is the final slower song to the album, and the penultimate track to Gavin DeGraw. It’s charm is clear and you’d definitely end up swaying your arms in the air by the end of it.

We Belong Together is the last track on the album, ending the 45 minute album in style. With its difference in tempo, the slower jamming of DeGraw makes you wonder why he’s not a bigger star than he already is.

Overall, Gavin DeGraw is a work of art. It’s a shame that he’s not well recognised over in the UK. Surely this album would have enough to bring him to new heights if he had the right promotion over here. This album is definitely one of my favourites and a must-have. That’s why I give it 9/10.

Gavin DeGraw – Chariot

After having released his first album independently, Gavin DeGraw had the chance to record a brilliant first major-label album release, and he took the opportunity with arms outstretched. On July 22nd 2003 Chariot was released and never really got the credit it deserved. A year later, on July 27th 2004, DeGraw released this album again, but titled Chariot (Stripped). This was just a version of the album with as little instruments, down to the bare minimum. DeGraw is one of the best acoustic, singer-songwriters of this day, but never really got his breakthrough over here in the UK. His gap in the British market is blocked by the likes of James Morrison.

Follow Through is the first track and has been featured on a few albums including an ice-cream company. As the intro gets louder, DeGraw only needs to sing the first word of “Oh” for you to realise how great his voice is. It’s filled with soul and a brilliant guitar melody to set you on course for one of the best singer-songwriter albums you’ll hear for a while.

Chariot is next, the title track to the album. It’s chorus provides you with a DeGraw display that’ll keep you playing the song for days. This song is a stand-out track on the album and one of my favourites of his in general. It also managed to reach #114 on the UK singles chart.

Just Friends follows and is a nice piano number with a percussion background of drums and DeGraw’s vocals mixing in delightfully. “Girl your body fits me like a glove” is crooned by DeGraw, his voice almost slightly rough in parts, making the song change dynamically.

(Nice To Meet You) Anyway “I don’t wanna get too close” is sung out from the beginning by DeGraw, letting you know this song is clearly about not wanting to stick about after meeting someone. His vocals are stunning as he easily reaches his high notes and moves from each note to the next so comfortably, flowing perfectly.

Chemical Party is next, and is a slightly different kind of song than what we’ve heard before. About drugs, DeGraw distracts you from the content by entrancing you with his vocals. The drumming and guitar riffs definitely make you tap along with any part of your body you can find.

Belief comes straight in next, with an almost acapella styled intro from DeGraw before the instruments kick in. He sings “Oh you stood by me and i’ll stand by my beliefs.” This song is definitely a ‘get your lighters out and start swaying them in the air” kind of moment.

Crush follows, escalating into a mega chorus that makes you sing along to his raspy voice. “Oh crush, I got a crush!” we all croon along with him. He sure knows how to write simple, but effective lyrics.

I Don’t Want To Be is the next track, and the only track to do well anywhere other than the States. It’s been covered by many reality TV contestants. No surprise that, along with most peoples, it’s my favourite from the album. It’s not a ‘follow the crowd’ thing, it’s just such a fantastic song, catching you with its harmonious melodies and killer riffs.

Meaning follows up, with DeGraw starting us off in his nice little falsetto range. Leading us back to his soulful voice, DeGraw’s long chorus proceeds us to join in with the long noted “love”. This is one of my favourite songs, and it hardly gets the recognition it deserves.

More Than Anyone is a good little piano ballad from DeGraw, showing us his tender side by singing a love song. The piano melody is constructed beautifully and DeGraw’s vocals really shine through.

Over-Rated is next, and, in my opinion, starts off a little weakly. But DeGraw pulls it back, so all is not lost. The chorus is brilliant as he sings “what i’m anticipating, everything else will be over-rated baby.” and takes you to the bridge, which is the highlight of the song.

Get Lost has a slow intro, an almost bluesy feel to it. With a simple arrangement of a piano, drums and guitar, this song is a nice, smooth end to the album. An album which you’ll most likely stick on repeat.

Overall, Chariot is a masterpiece, to put it simply. DeGraw’s vocals, the instrumental background, everything is extremely close to being perfect. It’s a fantastic album and i’d truly recommend it to anyone. He surely has some work to do to top this with his follow up album. I’d definitely give it 8.5/10.