Too 90’s or do people still say ‘sup?? Whatever.
First things first, I’m the realest…
That’s not at all what I was gonna say, but I mostly feel like you can’t start an Iggy quote on accident and not finish it. Now, I digress, it took A LOT of mental prep for me to listen to Nate’s debut solo album.
I was just as hype as the next fan girl when his first single hit the airwaves, but as other tracks came out, and life zeroed in on that release date, my loyalty to Jack just made the whole thing an internal struggle.
I spend my spare time imagining this ridiculously dramatic feud between Nate and the Antonoff siblings. In this deluded reality, Nate’s team consists of himself, girlfriend Charlotte, and her Ronson siblings; Team Antonoff lauds the ever perfect Jack and Rachel, plus Lena, duh, and a bevy of Rachel’s gal pals including Mae Whitman, Sarah Ramos, and Tavi Gevinson just to name a few. (The two guys sort of duke it out over rights to Fun.’s third member, Andrew Dost, but I like to think Jack wins in the end.)
Of course, all that’s nothing but my delusional speculation, so in a window of realism, I hit play on Grand Romantic whilst curling my entirely too long, too thick, mane of hair, so that I had to listen lest I go insane from the monotony of doing my hair.
And then I listened again, and again. And I considered it, comparing it to Fun., comparing it to Jack’s current project Bleachers, comparing it to current pop music, as well as music across the decades and across the board.The more I listened, the less partial my ears became. I’m telling you that so you know that this is mostly a fair review.
Here’s the sitch:
It’s not a simple record.
I wanted to listen through it once, write down my thoughts, and call it mediocrity. I don’t think Grand Romantic is the rare and beautiful gem that Bleachers’ Strange Desire is; and yes, it sounds a lot more like Fun. than anything Jack has done, but to an extent, Nate really can’t fix that. Nonetheless, it is not the mediocre, half hearted artistry, whole hearted attempt at monopolizing off of his fame that I wanted to think it was.
Nate is talented, and the album is one that grows on you with every listen. You have to let it set with you; it has to ruminate and roll over you a few times, but each time it does, you’ll discover something new and each new thing you find will be better and better.
That’s kind of the most impressive thing an artist can do in today’s music scene. Pop artists have become also entirely nothing short of one hit wonders, albums full of singles; most musicians on the scene are no longer creating art. Instead, they’re sacrificing emotion, depth, and complexity for the sake of notoriety.
At first, listening to Grand Romantic, all you do hear are those single ready tracks like AhHa and Nothing Without Love, and it’s hard not to assume he’s sold out like the majority of his counterparts. However, if you keep listening, you’ll find hidden gems like Take It Back with it’s eery backbeat remniscent of the rare optimistic moment in a prom scene turned slasher film or Moment with the sort of raw, emotional beauty that can make you feel exactly how much of himself Nate put into the song. You’ll find creative, daring influences from 70’s and 80’s classic rock; you’ll hear hints reminding you of the greats like Queen or Journey.
Speaking of which, the album itself is a journey; it’s not a sprint toward the finish line. Yes, there are what feel like missteps, moments that seem too much like flash in the pan theatrics, attempts to garner great attention quickly, but all in all, you feel something genuinely powerful in the lines and notes of Grand Romantic. It doesn’t seem like a masterpiece or a risk right away, but with every listen you start to see it for what it is, something, as the title indicates, that is quite grand.
Cheers, Nate, here’s to a successful first album, and many more to come. Also, in the event that Nate Ruess should actually read this, I’d be remiss if I didn’t add that should Fun. never make another song together, at the very least, a reunion tour would be very welcome.
Big fans of Grand Romantic, where are ya? Not a Nate Ruess fan, lemme know why. Agree or disagree with my review? I wanna hear what you have to say in the comments below.