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Five years is far too long for a gap between a first and second album, especially when an artist is as good as Gavin DeGraw.
The piano-playing wailing wonder returns with his single “In Love With a Girl,” which, thank goodness, is not a White Stripes cover as I initially feared. This is the harder version of DeGraw, similar to the guitar-heavy “I Don’t Want to Be” and “Chemical Party,” which were my two least favorite songs on his debut album “Chariot.” But unlike those two musical missteps, In Love With a Girl makes me want to be the titular lady.
“She Holds a Key” shows the Gavin I love, the flawed, romantic piano man with a gospel-stolen voice. “We Belong Together,” while good, is a cop-out track previously recorded for the “Tristan + Isolde” soundtrack in 2006, only rocked up a little bit. Speaking of cop outs, the lame metaphor of “Cop Stop” and the hackneyed “Medicate the Kids” are plain filler. As a whole, I’ll take Chariot over this self-titled sophomore slump any day.

Gavin DeGraw
“Gavin DeGraw”
Label: J Records
Genre: Rock/pop

By Hannah Bae
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