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Gavin DeGraw

‘Sweeter’

By Ken Capobianco
Globe Correspondent / September 20, 2011

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Gavin DeGraw’s latest is more radio-ready, heart-on-the sleeve pop that is pleasant enough but feels too inconsequential for an artist four records into his career. DeGraw seems fixated on creating music aimed at the CW network crowd filled with earnest, well-intentioned lyrics, which can either be endearing or nauseating. On the ode to devotion, “Soldier,’’ he sings, “You’re thirsty / I’ll be your rain / You’re hurt / I’ll take your pain.’’ There are other lines like that, all of which should pop up on Facebook walls shortly. It doesn’t help that DeGraw, who has a fine sense of melody, connects with Ryan Tedder, a go-to guy for slick, soaring hooks. The results are predictably formulaic, as seen on their co-writing effort, “Not Over You,’’ a manipulative slice of mope pop (they obviously missed what Morrissey did with yearning and heartbreak). DeGraw’s music is sometimes so manicured it could use a hangnail; he does rip things up a bit with the trembling “Radiation.’’ Vulnerability has its place (the lovely “Spell It Out’’), but the key is making it sound more interesting than it does here. (Out today)

ESSENTIAL “Radiation’’