Album Review: A Great Big World - Is Anybody Out There?

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Nerd pop is a thing. We can't deny its existence any more. With bands like Fun doing well in the charts and the abomination that is Glee being as popular as ever, I know it is a thing as much as any one else - I just don't like to admit it, because it hurts my ears so damn much. As A Great Big World start their venture into the musical world with their début album Is Anybody Out There? I have been forced to admit the existence of such a musical genre. It is very clear that if you like nerd pop then you will utterly adore this album, as it is more of the same stuff - only from a band with a long name.


The first thing that springs to mind when opening track 'Rockstar' flirts its way into existence with a little help of some cheerful piano notes, is just how utterly familiar this album sounded. From my ventures to my parents' house in the last few months, I have had the terrible misfortune of hearing Fun on the radio. If you like Fun, then you are certainly going to enjoy A Great Big World, as the similarities seem limitless. Everything from the group vocals to the high-pitched singing voice, screams the same kind of cheesy nerd pop that Fun helped to make popular last year. As the album goes on, this feeling just gets more and more apparent. The best way to describing this album to someone who has never heard of nerd pop, is to basically think of a camp Take That. So full of cheerful little moments that are so stupidly catchy, it almost hurts to admit that ten minutes after your initial listening of this album, the opening piano tune is still resolutely stuck in your head.


This album, as a general rule of thumb, tries so hard to be entertaining that it becomes irritating. It is very reminiscent of when children try to be cute. It just doesn't work. That level of adoration and general quirkiness just doesn't seem a natural thing to this band. The vocals are trying to be happy and loud, but it just seems vocalists Alex and Vaccarino are stuck in a battle to the death to see who can out-screech who. It is all bought together in a gay-love ballad entitled 'Everyone Is Gay', which has the potential to be a joyful little song that is essentially telling homophobic people to sod off. Yet, the overall sound of the song just sounds like it has come directly off the script of a really bad musical.


Overall, this album just appears to be trying so damn hard to be cool, that it fails miserably. It does have catchy songs, but when you remember the lyrics you have no option but to hate yourself a little bit on the inside.

Mark Wiglesworth

I am a student at the University of Portsmouth doing a Journalism and Media Studies degree who has an absolute passion for anything involving films or music. Give me any piece of media, I will do my best to review it.


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