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Magazines or Novels

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Album Review

The sophomore full-length by Andy Grammer was produced by veteran pop producer Jon Levine and it shows. Slick and glossy, the songs on Magazines or Novels are performed and produced with a goal — conscious or not — to match the massive success of the hit "Keep Your Head Up," from his self-titled debut — not an easy thing to replicate, but this team gives it an honest try. As is often the case when following a successful debut, there is a bit of an identity crisis at work here: Grammer wrote or co-wrote everything here, and he seemingly did so with a careful ear to the radio. His first single, "Back Home," with its anthemic, near football-chanted male backing chorus, foregrounded banjo, and enormous tom-toms and kick drums is as catchy and appealing as mainstream pop gets. The L.A.-cum-Nashville swagger in "Honey I'm Good" melds the backing harmonies of Bruno Mars to Keith Urban's more easy grooving rock sensibility (though the overuse of Auto-Tune in the lead vocal was unnecessary), and could be a second single. More of Levine's effects — laden production and slippery hip-hop rhythms — haunt the foreground of "Masterpiece" while "Pushing" comes dangerously close to One Republic territory in both arrangement and production. "Red Eye," with its compressed loops, is offset by delicate synths in the intro and the backdrop, recalling Maroon 5, but it's bridged by an enormous backing chorus worthy of a Rihanna record. The closer, "Kiss You Slow," with its fat hip-hop loops and acoustic piano, ambient textures, and layered sound effects, is almost majestic in contrast, with Grammer's vulnerable vocal in the verse. Of course, this being a pop song, the backing singers on the refrain come across the front with enormity. On this last point, the backing choruses on virtually every song on Magazines or Novels make for excellent singalongs, perfect for the club or the car or even a sporting event. And that's on purpose. Every move here has been carefully calculated to engender fan support, sure, but to extend Grammer's reach toward a wider audience. With his appealing voice and good-natured charm, he will likely achieve just that.

Customer Reviews

Amazing

Fav album, defiantly on repeat!

No talent

Dis mf has no talent

AMAZING!

I never get sick of listening to this album. Andy's music is one of kind. He shows that life isn't just about sex and alcohol. There's more to life. His music is just to catchy and the lyrics have so much meaning. I've met him close to 20 times and he remembers my name and everything. This shows that he's just not in it for the fame, but he truly cares about his fans. I've been a fan of Andy since day 1 and I will always be. Keep up the good work, Andy. This is only the beginning!

Biography

Born: December 3, 1983 in Los Angeles, CA

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '10s

A singer/songwriter with a bent toward contemporary soul and pop, Andy Grammer is the son of children's music artist Red Grammer. A native of Los Angeles, Grammer grew up in New York state but returned to California to earn his B.A. in music industry studies from California State University, Northridge. While attending school, Grammer began performing around Los Angeles and even spent time as a street performer to help publicize himself. Higher-profile gigs followed and Grammer eventually signed...
Full Bio