Thursday, October 20th, 2011

Gavin DeGraw – Not Over You

But are we over him?! With a hat like that, the answer might surprise you…


Anthony Easton: Ellen White’s brilliant essay on misogyny and rock and roll has been quoted on the Jukebox before (i.e. “Mick Jagger is less of a misogynist than James Taylor because James Taylor doesn’t try to hide his bullshit”), but it should be included in the pack of every nascent singer songwriter — the hateful DeGraw assumes a soft voice and a quiet smile spells pussy; at least there is an honesty to songs that express explicitly how much they love it, without the gooey middle. 

Hazel Robinson: Fucking hell, even Gavin’s trying to go rave. Well, I say that and genuinely believed it for the first 46 seconds of this but inevitably his bold stab reverts nervously back into the sort of non-power, non-pop, non-chorus that he’s famous for. Is One Tree Hill still going? I imagine it’s puttered out into the “mature adult contemporary” category, too. Disappointing.

Jonathan Bogart: I know that basically every music video is an excuse to let schlubby musicians pretend that extremely hot models are totally into them, but even by those low standards, DeGraw’s self-pitying Nice Guy routine is stomach-churning.

Katherine St Asaph: Well, sure, if you ensconce yourself in a cell of piano chordlets and Ryan Tedder drums and stare at her Facebook photos while asking waiters to put out an extra plate and silver, you’d be pained too. You might even sound more pained than this.

Jer Fairall: What do you say about an artist who is only describable in terms of his deficiencies in relation to fellow pushers of whiny douche-pop? That Gavin DeGraw is most notable for sounding like Adam Levine without the pretensions towards funkiness, like John Mayer without any prodigious talent to squander, like Daniel Powter without something as noxiously insistent as “Bad Day” to leave his mark with, or like Ryan Tedder without the prolific output? In the case of “Not Over You,” I suppose you thank him and Tedder for choosing to merge their talents this time out, thus potentially sparing the public one more awful song of this seemingly inexhaustible ilk. So, uh, thanks guys.

Alfred Soto: The slightly discordant piano over the chorus provides an anarchy that he squelches with his grated-cheese vocal as definitively as the Japanese did Manchuria. Recommended to fans of Adam Levine yelping dickwad drivel over kick drum.

Zach Lyon: I have to give him some pity points from all the good will I have stocked up because of “Chariot” and “I Don’t Wanna Be,” two hooky, pleasant pop tracks that showcased his ability to make music that seemed ready-made for Glee in the best way (note: I have never watched Glee). Innocent high school drama geek stuff, like Josh Groban without the voice. But this is a Ryan Tedder deal, which means it’ll either be an undeserved hit or it’ll be sent to the abandoned farm of irrelevance that puppies like Gavin go to when their careers die.

Brad Shoup: Muffled drums, a muddy four-on-the-floor throb, a piano riff electronically treated to a staggeringly hamfisted degree: DeGraw’s written a Coldplay song via the telephone game. He’s proven himself able to summon arresting, non-standard pop lyrical ideas (chariots, prison guards), but all he comes up with here is boomerangs. There’s nearly no difference between verses and chorus, except the latter has more half-dead vocal echoes.  

5 Responses to “Gavin DeGraw – Not Over You”

  1. We should probably clarify that Ellen Willis quote: she was praising Mick, not the sensitive singer-songwriter type, and the latter was represented not by JT but by Cat Stevens circa the condescending, subtly misogynist “Wild World.”

  2. i fucked it up, thanks Chris.

  3. Chris, do you have the quote itself? It’s certainly not as Anthony gave it, since Willis wouldn’t have been talking about Mick being bullshit much less hiding it. And do you have the context? I remember reading the Stevens-Stones comparison at the time, and also remember Willis pointing out that “Under My Thumb” could be gender reversed, but I don’t remember if the second point was made in the same piece as the first. I doubt that she thought Jagger was a misogynist at all, or much of a sexist, though maybe that’s just me projecting my own opinion. (There are several lines in “Ride On Baby” and “Stupid Girl” that smack of ye olde double standard, but there’s way more in Stones Land that’s poking a stick and stirring up the flames of immolation when it comes to said standard.)

  4. Frank, I found this bopping on a couple Tumblrs, reposted from Jezebel:

    “A crude but often revealing method of assessing male bias in lyrics is to take a song written by a man about a woman and reverse the sexes. By this test, a diatribe like [the Rolling Stones’] “Under My Thumb” is not nearly so sexist in its implications as, for example, Cat Stevens’ gentle, sympathetic “Wild World”; Jagger’s fantasy of sweet revenge could easily be female—in fact, it has a female counterpart, Nancy Sinatra’s “Boots” — but it’s hard to imagine a woman sadly warning her ex-lover that he’s too innocent for the big bad world out there.”

  5. she is arguing that taylor and stevens are more bullshit because they hide their misogyny–i will find the exact cite later today