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Chariot - Stripped

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Album Review

After receiving strong notices from the New York press for his fiery club performances, Gavin DeGraw signed with J Records and issued Chariot, his debut, in July 2003. But while it had promise, Chariot also suffered from a lack of imagination in the production department. There was no denying the humanity and bawdy soul wrapped up in DeGraw's voice, so why was it stifled by unimaginative, mainstream-leaning production? It's unclear what exactly prompted it (perhaps the album's slow burn rise on the charts?), but a full year later DeGraw's Chariot was re-released. However, this time around, the original studio version was joined by a song-for-song acoustic reading of Chariot, and the rawer presentation is exactly what it needed. The basic setup of drums, bass, acoustic guitar, subtle harmonies, and the piano and untreated vocals of DeGraw kicks out the slickness that shriveled cuts like "Follow Through," "Belief," and "Meaning." Here, they're the leafy greenery of a solid band kicking it on a warm April night in New York City. The title track was already a standout, but in its new, understated guise, there's a comforting Ben Harper quality about it. And the brushed snare is a perfectly subtle touch. "Just Friends" gets a new, mildly funky arrangement, and the cynically funny hedonism jam "Chemical Party" — "You're just too high to see my point/You think your name is 'Pass the joint'" — becomes a delightfully ragged jam with overtones of Simon & Garfunkel's "Cecilia." You can just imagine DeGraw kicking the piano stool out after the a cappella singalong breakdown. The effect of this "Stripped" format on DeGraw's music is immediate, and made more apparent by the inclusion of the studio cousin. It's an illustration of how great — how real — artists can sound when they aren't constrained by radio-ready sheen.

Customer Reviews

Amazing Voice, Amazing Lyrics, Amazing... Everything!

I'll have to admit that the first time that I heard Gavin's Music (I Don't Want To Be), I thought "eh, that's one of those crap mainstream pop songs that I'm never gonna care about"... But then a few months ago I heard "Chariot" on the radio, and fell in love with his voice. I ended up buying his Chariot + Chariot Stripped album (On Amazon, it was cheaper to buy the duo than just the original album). Ever since, his songs have been heavily rotating on my iPod! "Meaning" is my favorite song, and whenever I hear it I just smile because the lyrics mean so much to me (Gavin wrote ALL of the songs on his album [Except for Sam Cooke's Change is Gonna Come (the extra track on Chariot Stripped),which is also amazingly soulful and wonderful to hear]). Lately, I've been feeling sort of depressed, but whenever I hear Gavin's voice and really listen to the lyrics I always tend to feel uplifted, and a sense of hope (and even love) fills my mind and.... I feel happier than ever before. In my opinion, about half of the songs are better on the stripped version, but honestly, I think that all of his songs are just simply amazing and are well worth the money. I would buy this album instead of just Chariot, since some people have different tastes, ya know. Anyways, what I'm saying is that this album is a great buy (definitely for me, I feel as if some of these songs are actually a part of me now), Five well-deserved stars! I can't wait until his new album comes out!

Pretty good

I was looking at the top 100, and I saw one of his singles on it. I look at his list of albums, and noticed this one. Apparently, I was the first one to find it! No one bought a song from it! I reccommend this album to anyone who likes softer rock.


If you are a Gavin fan this is Gavin at his best. He really puts himself out there with amazing vocals and lyrics. If you like the other album this surpasses it greatly. Change is Gonna Come is probably one of my favorite songs of all time. His vocals is something out of this world. This album is definitly worth your money. It will change your life. AMAZING.


Born: February 4, 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 expanded...
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