By James Bentley
Tom Grennan is a relatively new artist on the music scene. Although his vocals have been featured on tracks by the likes of Bugzy Malone, and Chase & Status, the voice of this young man will have (as of late) remained unfamiliar to many. Despite the release of his debut album ‘Lighting Matches’ which charted at number five in the UK back in 2018; he was yet to make a true impression on the industry.
However, on 12th March, the 25-year-old from Bedfordshire released his sophomore album ‘Evering Road’. Unlike his previous album, 'Evering Road' debuted at number one on the UK Albums Chart. Consisting of 14 tracks, and only 46 minutes long, the album takes center stage, and certainly does not shy away. A mixture of indie, singer/songwriter and pop, the album seizes the opportunity to address life’s everyday issues and insecurities, i.e. self-esteem, intoxication, health and most indefinitely - romance. Yet what makes this album so special is that it uses it’s upbeat melodies, powerful vocals, and ballad like compositions to shed light and breath positivity into these subjects.
Now, an album of this quality could easily be broken down and analyzed track by track. However, as this is an article and not an essay, I can only delve into a selected few.
My first track of choice is also the first track on the album – and this is no coincidence. I am a very strong believer that the first track of an album is one of the most (if not – the most) important tracks on there. ‘If Only’ is a superb opening track, and perhaps one of the most welcoming introductions to an album I have heard for a while. Not only is it composed with power and excitement, but as the young musician revs his vocals like a Lamborghini engine, it certainly grabs your attention and leaves you wanting more.
Furthermore, it sets the tone beautifully for the rest of the album.
Following on from this is ‘Something Better’. One of my fellow peers at here at RNRR referred to the song as a ‘bop’ - a one word description that I am still yet to top in accuracy. It’s bouncy, it’s fun, and truthfully, I am unable to listen to it without ‘bobbing’ or ‘swaying’. However, what makes this song so brilliant is the depth of it. The upbeat tempo conflicts with it’s contents – struggling to move on from someone you still love. The conflict is used to illustrate the artists mental state of confusion as he finds himself unsure of what to do and how to feel. Not only do I feel that this contrast bares resemblance to that of The Smiths, but it also illustrates just how much of a genius Tom Grennan can be as a musician.
My next song of choice is ‘Little Bit of Love’. This is the most recognised and successful song of the album, peaking at number 8 in the UK charts. It is certainly one of the more ‘pop’ like songs on the album, and that is exactly why it stands out. Not only is it extremely catchy, but it also expands further on the content of ‘Something Better’. Between the deep passion, pain and desperation in the vocals, and lyrics such as ‘swimming in the deep end / tryna find my way back to you’, it is evident that you are listening to an individual drowning in their own thoughts. You can hear the fixation outgrowing the desire itself. Both the buildup, and slight lift in tempo on the final chorus I feel represents that tiresome exhaling sigh - the exhaustion of forever circling around your brain and achieving nothing.
My final song of choice is ‘You Matter to Me’ which incidentally is my personal favourite from the selection of tracks. Throughout this article, I have used words such as ‘catchy’ and ‘upbeat’ to illustrate the overall tone of this album. However, ‘You Matter to Me’ is a soft and beautiful ballad that not only places much more emphasis on the young artists singer/songwriter abilities, but also demonstrates just how varied he can be with his musical talents. Place Adele, Sam Smith and Rag ‘n’ Bone Man in a pot, give it a stir and this is the result. Lyrics including ‘Maybe I was chasing something that wasn't there’ paint a sorrowful but unerring portrayal of an individual acknowledging the bitter truth of their own reality. I also feel that it conveys a very important message about acceptance, and learning that the right thing isn’t always necessarily the good thing.
As I stated earlier, an album of this calibre could easily be broken down track by track. With that in mind, I would like to offer out some honorable mentions before I conclude this article. Such tracks include: ‘Amen’, ‘It Hurts’, ‘This is the Place’, ‘Love Has Different Ways to Say Goodbye’, and of course, the mischievous, but down to earth duet with Ella Henderson; the encore of the deluxe edition – ‘Lets Go Home Together’.
Overall, I think it is safe to say that I consider this a fantastic album. It might not be the most original piece of art to enter the charts in the last five years, but it’s still refreshing nonetheless. It’s consistent, yet varied, and has the ability to pack so much into just three quarters of an hour. With lyrics like ‘Jealousy ain't gonna make a man out of you’ ('It Hurts'), I would consider it to be the heart to heart we never knew we needed. A strong four out of five and an album that I can definitely listen to again and again.
If you'd like to find out more about Tom Grennan and keep up to date with his latest releases alongside 'Evering Road', the links to all his socials can be found below via the icons: