Monday, March 30, 2009

First Impression: "Free" by Gavin Degraw

I enjoyed Gavin Degraw's debut album Chariot quite a bit (maybe less after all these years), especially the version that comes with a second disc featuring all the songs in acoustic versions. I was excited for his second album, which came after several album-less years from Gavin, but when I listened to it online, I was not impressed. It was typical VH1-style guitar-pop. The catchy songs just weren't there. I was extremely disappointed and decided to not buy the second album.

When I heard about Gavin's new album Free, which comes just a year after his self-titled second offering, I was intrigued. This new album promised to be more tuneful, less poppy, and more acoustic.

I've just listened to it on ilike, and I'm very impressed! Indeed, it has much less of a generic pop-rock sound. Gavin's piano playing is back and, more importantly, his voice is the featured instrument. Afte hearing Chariot (and the bonus track on the Stripped portion of the album, "A Change Is Gonna Come"), I figured Gavin had a soul singer inside him. After listening to Free, I think that proves to be true. I still think he could go in an even more soulful direction, but this is a great start.

The songs on Gavin's new album are a little catchier, more beautiful and more passionate. They don't all sound like attempts at a hit single.

The album only has nine songs, but I liked at least seven of them quite a lot. I think I'll buy this one at some point. Not this month, and not the next, but perhaps some time this year.

Good job, Gavin. I believe in you again.

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