Thursday, June 14, 2012

Eric Hutchinson Moving Up Living Down 2012

Eric Hutchinson has made it back. His 2008 breakthrough Sounds Like This was the perfect summer record and a great pop record. How could he possibly NOT hit the sophomore slump after that classic? I waited for this release with the mix of anticipation and anxiety that question evokes.

I'm happy to report that Mr. Hutchinson does not disappoint. He not only avoids the slump, he comes darn close to topping Sounds Like This. He stays with some of the things he does well: hooky choruses, interesting arrangements, good lyrics and vocals, the occasional Stevie Wonder reference, and a clear understanding of the history and deep meaning of the hit pop record.

He manages to branch out a little without losing any of his identity. Living In The Afterlife plays harder than before, Best Days' sunshine and The Basement's cool night are ready to go for summer. He throws in some Reggae-lite on Not There Yet and Talk Is Cheap. What the new songs lack in familiar-sounding catchy hooks they make up for with new-sounding catchy hooks. Still derivative, the references seem slightly less obvious on this one.

Hutchinson writes great songs, with immediate sing-a-long choruses, and adult lyrics. He's got a fine high tenor, a little bit of Philadelphia funk, and smart arrangements. All recorded fairly well for a modern pop record. If this pop music is too slight for you, you might be taking yourself too seriously. Time to once again turn the car stereo up very loud and hang out the window screaming and dancing down some Michigan back road... 

It turns out he's the real deal.

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