Michael Grimm: Grimm Review

Grimm is the fifth album released by Colorado-born singer-songwriter and America’s Got Talent winner Michael Grimm. The album begins with “Generation Next.” a track that was clearly calculated to be a single with its catchy chorus and anthemic style which attempts to lyrically unify the artist and the listener. Instrumentally, the track is solid with a great, funky bass line and a smooth, albeit truncated, guitar solo. Grimm changes things stylistically on the next track, “She Drives Me Crazy” which has a surprisingly modern indie-sounding guitar intro that the more varied listener may be able to pick out as representing the sound of Vampire Weekend, but Grimm diverts from this track in favor of a climbing melody and chorus set to a toe-tapping drum beat.

“Black and White” features slow strumming and ethereal backing vocals that set the tone for a measured story detailing a past heartbreak and a slew of shattered expectations all while Grimm pleads for vibrancy. Characteristically uncharacteristic, the album fluctuates from the aforementioned toned-down, torch-carrying requiem to a more traditional blues sound. With a crunchy, dirty bit of soul guitar, Grimm delivers an autobiographical sermon with “The Tide” in the style of some of John Mayer’s later work, replete with an obvious vocal quaver. “Roses” continues the traditional sound found on the previous track with a stuttering, but old fashioned, rhythm and some light guitar improvisation, giving the listener the most recognizably blue track.

The title of “High School Stories” may instantly bring to mind Bryan Adams’ smash hit “Summer of ‘69,” but this bittersweet bit of nostalgia places the narrator in the present tense and, although accompanied by up-tempo strumming, the lyrics allude to an act of betrayal. “Lonely” shifts to a much lower gear as an ode to isolation and happy tears, with a steel-string support; although absent, the listener can feel the presence of living dreams and dead memories. “Tragic Figures” continues the more pain-centered focus of the heart of the album, but does so with an up-and-down melody and a collective chorus. The track is also notable for featuring the second guitar solo of the album, this one containing a progressive arpeggio before it is quickly interrupted by a welcome contribution from the bass player. “Goodbye Sammy” is another example of the excellent bass work on this album as it is used in a more conspicuous manner.  The guitar begins as a supportive underlay, then takes on a “My Sharona” riff, before sliding into a brief solo.

“Bliss” opens the last quarter of the album as an acoustic Seal-like ballad with a belting chorus and gentle vibrato.  The song begins with a metronome-like ticking which perfectly exemplifies the way in which the guitar and vocals perfectly sync up, both speaking the same language: “Bliss” also contains the best and lengthiest guitar solo on the album. In “1982,” Grimm wrings every bit of island sound out of his strings overtop a grumbling bass rhythm. The album concludes with the entirely acoustic ballad of lost love, “The Wind,” ending the album with an introspective, lamenting note. Fans of easy-listening rock and light blues will enjoy this contribution from an experienced songwriter and musician.

 The Review: 7.0/10

Can’t Miss Tracks

– She Drives Me Crazy
– The Tide
– Roses
– Bliss

The Big Hit

– Bliss

Review by McKinnie Sizemore

Buy the album: Amazon

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