Album Reviews — May 15, 2016 at 10:00

POP: Somewhere Over My Head by Greyson Chance

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Following Greyson Chance’s performance of Lady Gaga’s “Paparazzi” on the Ellen Degeneres Show in 2010, the world became obsessed with him overnight. But with becoming a viral sensation comes the pressure of sustaining such stardom. There are plenty of other stars who have risen and fallen in a matter of months (Iggy Azalea, I’m looking at you). The question was, could this sixth-grader from Oklahoma really become a viable pop sensation? With the upcoming release of Somewhere Over My Head, we get some insight into an aptly-named EP; Chance may have felt like he was drowning in the pop music genre, and this is his opportunity to claw his way back out. Though he has toured extensively in Asia, Chance has yet to see the craze in North America that he experienced when he first became famous.

This EP is short and sweet; right off the bat, “Afterlife” is reminiscent of Justin Bieber and Zayn, influenced by some soulful R&B vibes, but still overwhelmingly pop. You can really hear the evolution that Chance has gone through. Moving away from the dance-pop sound of his youth, as Chance has matured, so has his repertoire. “Hit and Run” has Chance singing about his experience with fame and fast lifestyles, and his struggle to maintain personal relationships. He even delves into his relationship with his father for a moment, giving us a glimpse at the real Greyson Chance, and not the industry-churned, spat-out image of the young artist. I think the biggest problem with this EP is not the tracks that comprise it; indeed, each song is skillfully executed and performed. Instead, the problem lies within the material itself. Each song, while impressive, still lacks some oomph, some je ne sais quoi, something that makes listeners’ ears perk up. None of the tracks are particularly outstanding, and instead, they ride the line of slightly better than decent. None of the tracks are overwhelmingly catchy, and I can’t really imagine any of the songs being on top 40 radio. To be honest, Chance’s electronic dance track, “Oceans,” with tyDi and Jack Novak, is more noteworthy, and is the one that deserves airplay.

The one weakness to this EP is that despite all the growth that Chance has gone through in the past few years, I still don’t really know what his intention is in the music industry. As an artist who exploded onto the scene at such a young age, I think that there is some self-discovery and self-understanding that Chance has yet to go through. He hasn’t found his niche yet, but Somewhere Over My Head, may be his first foray into that space. This EP sounds more genuine than his previous work, indicating that Chance may finally know what his sound is, though there is definitely still more work to be done. I’m excited to hear new material from Chance, and experience the moment when I can hear something of his and say immediately, “Ah yes, this is Greyson Chance, this is iconic and obviously him.”

3 out of 5 stars

Milk&Honey LA

Must-Listen Tracks: “Afterlife,” “Hit & Run”

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One Comment

  1. When I first saw Greyson Chance  perform Paparazzi on You Tube back in 2010  the conventional wisdom at the time was “the next Justin Bieber” I, on the other hand, immediately thought “Justin Bieber MY ASS!!! This kid is the next Billy Joel, the next Elton John, the Next Jerry Lee Lewis!!!”

    With the release of his long awaited EP, ‘Somewhere Over My Head’ I’m confident I will ultimately be proven right and I’ve now added “The Next Paul Simon” to the mix. (particularly because of the track ‘No Fear’) I make these comparisons not to say that he has reached the level of these giants but with regard to the underlying quality and depth of his talent. 
    His live performances stand alone and, I dare say, ABOVE these greats, in my opinion. (Maybe on-par with Jerry Lee Lewis)

    As was the case with his first album, ‘Hold on to the Night’, Greyson’s music is far more sophisticated than one would expect from an artist of his age. (A battle he continues to fight on his professional journey.) He is growing into his own music.

    The two previously unreleased tracks, ‘No Fear’ and ‘More Than Me’ are deeply passionate compositions. It’s hard to imagine that an 18 year old from suburban Oklahoma City could draw on his own life’s experiences to write such pieces. Maybe there’s IS something to the “Old Soul” theory 😉

    ‘Afterlife’ released October 2015, analogizes the loss of a relationship to death.

    ‘Hit & Run’ and ‘Back on the Wall’, released in February and April, 2016 respectively, are songs of tumultuous relationships with the protagonist being imagined characters that are “way cooler than me”, says Greyson.

    “THE ADVENTURE IS THE JOURNEY NOT THE DESTINATION”

    I’ve often posted those words with reference to Greyson. He has produced a documentary scheduled for release in the very near future. It tells the story, “very honest”(ly), according to his manager, Alex Ziabko, of his journey in the world of music.

    And The Journey Continues. I am truly looking forward to more music and live shows from Greyson Chance.

    Find Greyson Chance here:
    http://www.greyson-official.com
    Twitter: @greysonchance
    Instagram: greysonchance
    Facebook: Greyson Chance

    Greyson’s music is available on all major platforms:
    iTunes
    Spotify
    Soundcloud
    Amazon

    Keep Throwin’ Punches, Greyson 🙂
    Always in your corner,
    E.S.

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