Pop Rock, 2004 (Reissue)
Chariot (Stripped) is a special repackage of Gavin DeGraw’s 2003 CD Chariot with a special CD Stripped which contains acoustic performances of all the songs on Chariot along with a bonus track A Change Is Gonna Come. I really like the track Chariot which is the reason why I bought this CD (oh, and that I can’t resist the special price of this dual-CD package).
After listening to the two CDs, I must say that most of the tracks aren’t really too different on the two CDs. I prefer the acoustic version of Chariot but the acoustic version of I Don’t Want to Be is not as good compared to the original.
My problem with the two CDs is that most of the tracks are dull. Mr DeGraw’s music, lyrically and melodically, is pretty much derivative of those of the college rock-jock dudes out there, from the granddaddy of schlock John Mayer to the dud-dude Jason Mraz, with the rare occasional contrived “street toughness” of songs like I Don’t Want to Be to drive home the fact that Mr DeGraw is tougher than those kittens like Jason Mraz. It’s hard to be convinced though when Mr DeGraw sings about being surrounded by liars and wanting to start some anti-establishment rebellion so that he can be himself, because what exactly is the man’s true self? The droopy-eyed boyfriend in Follow Through, the messiah in Chariot, or the junkie in Chemical Party?
As someone dabbling in a rock subgenre devoted to pleasing teenage girls and their mothers, Mr DeGraw is just another poster-boy to drive his audience into raptures. Maybe he’s a better performer live which will make up for the generic nature of his CD. Maybe. That doesn’t change the fact that there aren’t any standout tracks here except maybe for the acoustic version of Chemical Party, enhanced by some fabulous soulful background vocals that nearly convince me that I am chilling in some Jamaican hashish den. It’s hard to claim credibility when one’s song is the theme song of a teen-show on TV. He’s prettier than John Mayer but really, I’m not looking for a new poster boy to grace my bedroom walls.