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Sweeter

Gavin DeGraw

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Album Review

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. DeGraw still has a habit of packing too many words into his phrases and then singing them too strenuously, and his sparser moments can seem skeletal, but these collaborators add colors to a formula that was beginning to get bleached out. DeGraw could stand to be livelier and not as insistent — he never misses an opportunity to underscore his point and has a tendency to succumb to gratingly silly novelties, as on “Candy” — but Sweeter benefits from greater textures in his surroundings, stronger hooks in the melodies, and, for once, a sensibility that doesn’t sacrifice the present for the sake of paying respect to the past.

Biography

Born: 04 February 1977 in South Fallsburg, NY

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Years before "I Don't Want to Be" propelled him to pop/rock success, songwriter Gavin DeGraw began honing his piano skills at the age of eight, followed by his participation in several cover bands with his older brother in upstate New York. After a brief stint at the prestigious Berklee School of Music — where he rubbed shoulders with future singer/songwriter contemporary John Mayer — DeGraw decided to take his original songs to New York City. He arrived during the late '90s and steadily...
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Sweeter, Gavin DeGraw
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