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Music Review: Gavin DeGraw – Sweeter

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Proving to be at the top of his game, Gavin DeGraw returns this week with his fourth studio album, Sweeter.

On this new album, DeGraw worked with esteemed producers Eric Rosse (SaraGavin DeGraw - 'Sweeter' credit: Patrick Fraser Bareilles), Ron Aniello (Matt Nathanson), and Butch Walker (Weezer). The singer-songwriter sought to expand and experiment with his sound this time around. He decided to change it up by working with co-writers for the first time.

“I was happy with the way the writing was going. I just felt like I needed someone to rattle my cage and try different things,” DeGraw told me last week during our interview.

He reached out to fellow songwriters that he had wanted to work with, Ryan Tedder (OneRepublic) and Andrew Frampton (The Script). DeGraw’s latest hit, “Not Over You,” is the result of his collaboration with Tedder.

“I really felt strongly that it was a nice blend of what both of us kind of do musically,” DeGraw said of his lead single from Sweeter.

Tedder also contributed to the title track, “Sweeter,” which has a pop-funk kind of vibe, which I thought was a great way to kick off the album. The guitar in the beginning gets in your head to the point that you cannot help, but groove along to it throughout the song. There’s a confident, yet sexy swagger to the track, as DeGraw sings about wanting to get with another guy’s girl.

I found that the album’s underlying theme really just boils down to honesty, which is simply compelling. This is a very revealing, yet vulnerable side that we haven’t experienced from DeGraw on his previous albums.

There’s “Run Every Time,” in which he sings about being unable to commit with someone who’s ready to take it to the next level in their situation to the devoted love anthem that is “Soldier,” which DeGraw described to me as a “really beautiful sentiment.”

One of the most honest tracks on the album is also the most rockin’, being “Radiation.” Trust me when I say that keepin’ it real has never sounded hotter.

The song, which includes the line, “If you get an invitation, I’m probably drunk,” is about making that late night call to the one person you probably shouldn’t be calling, but dial anyways when the mood strikes.

DeGraw told me that songs like “Radiation” and the title track “embrace some of what would either be considered primal or imperfect,” and that “for a moment, it’s not bad to feature reality versus romance on a record.”

I have to give mention to the final track on Sweeter, called “Spell It Out.” I enjoy the overall simplicity of the track, which features DeGraw’s impassioned vocals and piano. It just goes to show that when everything is said and done, this guy is incredibly talented. If there’s one track on this album that I would love to experience live, “Spell It Out” would be it.

Gavin DeGraw’s latest album, Sweeter, is available now.

For more information on Gavin DeGraw, including his Fall tour schedule, check out his official website.

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About Kirsten Coachman

Kirsten Coachman is a writer from the San Francisco Bay Area. She has interviewed a variety of artists and creatives, including Oscar-winning actor and 30 Seconds to Mars frontman Jared Leto, BAFTA-winning actor Andrew Garfield, singer-songwriter and Matchbox Twenty frontman Rob Thomas, Andrew Dost from the Grammy Award-winning band fun., and acclaimed writer-director Derek Cianfrance.
  • Charlotte

    great review! i love Sweeter, every song on this album has so much emotion. especially “Not Over You”, the video depicts the song perfectly

  • adamcmr

    I love “Sweeter”! So glad he came out with a new album…it’s great! …The video for “Not Over you” is awesome!

  • kevincorcoranjr

    this album is definitely one that will make you smile. Perfect music to play during an early morning run or shower… it’ll definitely get you in a great mood! Sounds a bit like OneRepublic mixed with Train and some hints of Michael Buble tossed in – a beautiful mix. do yourself a favor and put this CD on next time you wake up, and get ready to have a great day! :)