Release Date: Sep 20, 2011
Record label: RCA
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Adult Alternative Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Contemporary Singer/Songwriter
Gavin DeGraw will never be cool. Like John Mayer and Jason Mraz, he's a nice-looking white dude with music-school chops and mainstream tastes; his songs are too well-made, too catchy, too unapologetically pop-rock to appeal to tastemakers. And what's wrong with that? The 10 songs on Sweeter, DeGraw's fourth album, are taut, efficient and hook-packed, with guitars bolstering the big choruses.
If Sweeter, Gavin DeGraw’s fourth album, proves anything, it’s that producer Ryan Tedder has some warmth buried somewhere within his icy soul. Tedder doesn’t produce all of Sweeter -- Butch Walker, Eric Ivan Rosse, Andrew Frampton, and Ron Aniello are also on board -- but he does co-write two cuts here, as does Frampton, marking the first time DeGraw has collaborated with another writer. It’s not much, just four songs out of ten, but it’s enough to expand and freshen his bearded blue-eyed soul, making it feel not quite so studiously stodgy.
You know that part in this pop-soul smoothie’s songs where the verse launches skyward into the chorus, DeGraw makes that I’m-pounding-these-piano-keys-so-hard! face, and a bajillion turtle doves explode from a rooftop somewhere? Well, there’s a half-dozen good ones on his fourth full-length Sweeter (check the title track). Too bad the other half’s weighed down by painfully mopey, girl-done-left-me blues. ”Everybody hurts,” DeGraw sighs.