"Hold on 'Til the Night''
In two weeks, this YouTube phenom turns 14, and this surprisingly assured piano-based debut introduces a talent that should be around for some time. Thankfully, Greyson Chance avoids the easy pop music trend that relies on riffs, so the album is filled with 10 finely arranged and performed tunes that display a healthy respect for the art of songwriting. This is pop without the bells and whistles, and the focus is on Chance’s remarkably strong, emotive voice and piano playing. The production isn’t candy coated. Strings spice “Unfriend Me’’ and the immensely appealing title track, but they never threaten to usurp the vocalist nor are they used to trigger false sentiment. A lot of teen pop is infectious like a bad rash, but these songs transcend his age. “Cheyenne’’ is infused with yearning, while the acoustic guitar-driven “Home Is in Your Eyes’’ feels unusually genuine from someone so tender. While he works with star producers such as the Matrix, this is certainly not a producer-driven disc. Chance may be too young to understand the complex emotions he writes and sings about, but he sure makes it seem as though he does. (Out today)