I knew Andy Grammer mainly through his 2015 hit, Honey I’m Good. From that one song, I concluded that he’s likely to be an upbeat country-pop artist, and I wasn’t mistaken. Accurately titled The Good Parts, this album is full of feel-good tracks that sound like they should be featured in the final scenes of a romcom. That being said – you know how certain cafes have recently begun serving ‘freak milkshakes’, which is a regular, sugary milkshake topped with chocolate bars, candy, whipped cream, caramel sauce, and more sugar? Listening to this album is like taking one of those milkshakes and trying to down the entire glass in one go – it reaches a point where you end up feeling nauseated by the syrupy, cheesy pop.
Grammer makes a good start with Smoke Clears, which is an unoriginal but nonetheless sweet love song about staying with someone through the good and bad times. The storytelling quality of country songs combined with the uplifting pop element is very enjoyable. Freeze, which follows, is apparently meant to be Grammer’s ode to Sunday Morning. While the slightly repetitive track does have a very Maroon 5-like quality with the falsettos and funk-pop chords, it definitely sounds more like what it actually is – someone trying too hard to cover a Maroon 5 song.
The titular song, The Good Parts really shows off Grammer’s vocal range, and has some great lyrics about wanting to get to know someone beyond the small-talk. The fourth song, Spaceship, would have to be one of my favourites from this album. The track is sung from the perspective of a father to-be to his unborn child, and is made memorable with its catchy tune and some sweet and comical lyrics such as “You’ll become a kid, and I’ll become a man / But first, we’re gonna crawl, together we’ll stand” and “Yesterday, couple kids making out in cars / Now I’m staring at a screen of your beating heart”.
After the first four pretty enjoyable songs however, I reached my peak of enjoying Grammer’s style. But there are only so many major chords I can take. I don’t know if the quality of the music actually deteriorated, or if it was just me getting tired of the cheesiness, but the second half of this album is much weaker. Fresh Eyes, 85, and Always are all written on slightly different topics, but are too repetitive in terms of musical style, verging almost on sounding cringy with their incessant happiness and sugary tunes. Grown-Ass Man Child is probably the worst song on the album, and I’ll admit, I’m biased against it just because of the title. Ironic or not, who on earth thought this was an appealing title? That, combined with horrendous lyrics such as “I’m Peter Pan with a Cuban in my hand” and the jarring falsetto in the chorus, is enough to make this an unpleasant listen.
Things take a slight turn for the better with Working On It, a motivational song about acknowledging your flaws and trying to improve yourself. While I appreciate the slight change in style, I feel like Grammer could have gone even further and slowed down a bit, and stripped down the track a little more. This would have really showcased the lyrics and his vocals, rather than flooding what should be an emotional song with beats and instruments. Civil War is a pleasant listen as well, with Grammer questioning God about why people are good but have bad tendencies within them.
Overall, if you enjoy cheesy pop as I do, Andy Grammer is the right fit for you, and this album deserves a listen. However, I’d recommend stopping after four or five songs, unless you want an auditory sugar crash.
Picks:Spaceship, Smoke Clears