SINGLE REVIEW: Andy Grammer – “Back Home”

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“Home” is where the chart is.

(Listen to “Back Home”) (Download “Back Home” on iTunes **APRIL 8**)

Shortly before Halloween in 2010, I discovered a video from a newcomer that really caught my eye. In the clip, you could choose which direction you wanted it to continue in from a series of two options, a bit like the Goosebumps books I’d read as a kid. Well, it took a few months for the song behind it to finally be serviced to radio, but when it did, it became the first hit for a then 27-year-old singer named Andy Grammer, and what a ride it’s been for him since.

With three singles ranking on the Hot AC chart, two making the Hot 100 and achieving Gold (“Fine By Me”) and Platinum (“Keep Your Head Up”) certification, and a solid album to boot, it’s been a great first few years for both Grammer and S-Curve Records, who signed him four years ago. Since third release “Miss Me” peaked, however, not much has been known about his second album. An EP from the singer, consisting of the live-tested “Crazy Beautiful” and “I Choose You”, made their debut in May, but neither saw much promotion besides a small appearance on The Bachelorette. When I interviewed producer and songwriter Matt Radosevich in early December, he noted that he was involved in the sessions for the effort, but wasn’t sure when it would be out. Now, we have our first official taste of it in a new single called “Back Home”.

Mixing Grammer’s signature sound with a noticeably more folk-driven twist, the now 30-year-old singer’s latest tune is an ode to the good ol’ days and sticking to your roots, one that’s particularly infectious, I might add. Lyrically, the song tells of he and friend, presumably at the bar, toasting to “nights that you can’t take back” and how “we live hard, but we love to laugh.” He sings of how they planned to “get rich fast” by means of relocation, only to realize that money “don’t compare to the friends that last.” Yet, through the troubles and uncertain times that occur with growing up, hometown pride is also a constant: “We won’t forget where we came from/This city won’t change us/We beat to the same drum.”

This sentiment continues in a sing-along chorus, ending on the message that “we always find our way back home.” Into the second verse, the two friends reminisce about the memories of “cheap sunglasses/Red Bull and minivans/And people who had your back when the world didn’t understand.” Now that time has passed and their experiences have returned them to the place where they started, they two realize that despite the changes and much like they began their night, “we’ll still be raising our cups to the same damn things.” It’s a concrete story and one that I’m sure is relatable on more than one level to  Grammer’s core audience. While many recent acts have cruised into that pop-folk crossover, this single, thankfully, does not sound as forced and should be enjoyed for what it is: a nice song with a positive vibe.

Even though the material is worthy of being a hit and I’m sure his base will come out when the song is up for downloading, the radio situation is a little bit concerning at the moment. S-Curve doesn’t have as much pull at radio as it did a few years ago with acts like Duran Duran and We The Kings, mostly because the landscape of the formats have changed and so have the panels in terms of their ratios of large company stations versus independent ones. However, given that Grammer is one of their bigger artists at the moment, perhaps they’ll be able to build up their resources in order to deliver on giving him a proper leadoff to his second album.

Look out for “Back Home” on a radio station playlist near you when it’s serviced later this week and be sure to support the latest project from Andy Grammer by downloading his new single when it hits digital retailers on Tuesday.

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