Tuesday, January 3rd, 2017

Tom Grennan – Something in the Water

We’re back! And grumpy!


Crystal Leww: We’ve been doing the BBC Sound Of for years now, and I feel like every year we get something very similar to Tom Grennan. Last year, Jack Garratt did it with wubs instead of acoustic guitar, so I guess it was a slight twist on the formula, but still, there always a thick voiced dude who has pain in his voice singing about something vague painfully.

Thomas Inskeep: The BBC says that Grennan’s music is “raw, emotive vocals on top of acoustic guitar melodies.” Which is pretty much a guarantee that I will hate it. This “Something in the Water” most definitely does not compute.

Alfred Soto: It’s not a Prince cover, for which I’m grateful. Listening to this acoustic plaint is like being injected by Quaker Oatmeal.

Iain Mew: Apparently James Bay’s mystical water lyrics come as a job lot with the voice and the hat.

Megan Harrington: With Hozier firmly on team “Where Is LP2?” I suppose it was only natural for someone like Tom Grennan to appear like a clot in the drain. He’s perhaps without all of Hozier’s finer points, but “Something in the Water” manages the bare minimum of resonance required at this point in the post-Hozier half life. 

Mark Sinker: Movie notes: (1) “Today is just a day and tomorrow never dies… ” As attempted exculpation, this is obviously more symptom than wisdom, since only the clueless quote Bond titles to make a point about emotional momentum. (2) Singers have often goosed up their Home Counties voices with a patois before now, and there are good as well as problematic reasons the practice has survived, but you should probably avoid reminding the listener of an emo Jar Jar Binks. 

Josh Langhoff: He’s got Daya’s hook and Kat Dahlia’s technique, but Tom Grennan still needs better beats before he can make his own wildly inconsistent/occasionally great album. As it is, this song sucks. Let’s hope whatever’s in the water prevents vocal nodes, or this dude’s a goner.

Maxwell Cavaseno: To quote the great philosopher Curtis “Interscope” Jackson: I don’t believe you. Rasp and yell all you want, dude, but there’s no song here. I think I’ve heard 400 variations of the “Something in the Water” theme as a chorus in the last decade alone, and at least a few of them could go beyond “Hey man… something strange has come over me (don’t say)… I think it’s… (You son-of-a, don’t you da-) LOVE (Goddamnit Tom)!” It’s all performative hamming, it’s singer-songwriter as posture instead of actually crafting a tune. You know the kid in your school who learned two songs (probably “Creep”/”Wonderwall” and something by some semi-obscure trash act like Andrew Jackson Jihad) who broke out the guitar for parties? Here he is. There he goes. There’ll be another one too, and nobody should be impressed by this guy, either.

Ramzi Awn: The faint choir is the main takeaway from this notably uninspired record. The adages don’t work and the soul is basic. Taking a late tip from Adele, Tom Grennan does his best Colorado lodge act but fails. 

Hannah Jocelyn: My dad and I listened to this together, and we didn’t come up with any concrete descriptions but just an endless list of comparison points for that voice — George Ezra (me), Carlos Santana?? (him), John Newman (me), and Future Islands (him, referring to Sam Herring as the “imPOSSIBLE guy”). That last one came particularly Grennan’s over-pronunciation throughout, most blatantly wo-taaahhh. So it’s not exactly an original, groundbreaking song, but Charlie Hugall — a producer that’s contributed to above-average British indie types like the late, great Dry The River and the wonderful Lucy Rose — comes through with effective production. The handclaps and reverb are definitely informed by modern folk, but the result is never as crowded as something like the Strumbellas’ “Spirits” — there’s always just enough space to let Grennan push through. Even as it’s clearly derivative, it’s derivative in a way that makes me want to keep watching Grennan develop his voice figuratively and literally, hopefully with Hugall alongside him.

Katherine St Asaph: Water’s still flavorless.

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5 Responses to “Tom Grennan – Something in the Water”

  1. THE RETURN OF MAXWELL!!!!!11!!!1!11111!!

  2. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Nz3DL6EXtQ

  3. hey screw you Jack Garratt is pretty good

  4. Maxwell I was thinking more along the lines of https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uB1D9wWxd2w

  5. Ymmv but I think about that song at least twice a day