Wednesday, November 14, 2012

#116: Gavin DeGraw - Chariot (2003)

This album may made a bit of noise on the pop radar in 2005, even though it was released in 2003. While many people may know him from his 'Dancing With the Stars' stint or his newest album, 'Sweeter' it's this album that defines Gavin DeGraw to me. On the 2004 re-release a second CD was included with acoustic tracks of each of the songs. For this review - I'll just be covering the original release.

Follow Through
"Oh this is the start of something good, don't you agree?" It's such a beautiful way to start a song and an even better way to start the album. Acoustic guitars hold down the fort with the drums chopping away while DeGraw lays down a beautiful melody strung with words of hope and love. It's one of his best songs and one of the big reasons I've bought several of his albums. He's got a very soulful, fragile voice and his songwriting is quite good, too.

I Don't Want to Be
Such a simple yet effective guitar lick to open the track. It rocks, it groove, and it's both uplifting and dark at the same time. However, it's the bridge that I really dig. A truly good bridge changes the feel and direction of the song but it still has to fit. The chorus is big and bold, marking DeGraw's biggest hit to date.

Best track on the album. A very thick, tasty piano is the undercurrent to this song and it floods over when the chorus comes around. There's no weak spots on the track, big guitars, huge hooks, a little organ, full harmonies, and strong lyrics. It's DeGraw at his absolute best and while he has written plenty of material since 'Chariot' nothing else quite captures the moment like this. I always get chills on the ending vamp, "Give me your strength, Chariot."

All in all, it's an enjoyable record. I try to stay away from the singles when I spotlight certain tracks and while some tracks demand to be covered, otherwise it's because the rest of the album doesn't step up to the plate. While I enjoyed every track on this album, it's the first three singles that really carry this album. Musically it's very similar from track to track but DeGraw has enough variation to keep it fresh. Some of the lyrics lack even a puddle's worth of depth but overall it's a good album. I enjoy it every time I listen to it.

Tomorrow's album: The Who 's My Generation.

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