“Grand Romantic” by Nate Ruess: Album Review

Today’s the day! Grand Romantic, the first solo album from Fun. singer Nate Ruess has finally been released! So without wasting any time I decided to get the review up and posted, and I really don’t want to waste too much time since everything I’ve heard from this album I’ve liked a whole lot.

“Grand Romantic (Intro)” opens the album with a beautiful choir sound that built easily into a wonderful mix of instruments and various distant vocal effects. “AhHa” starts suddenly, and seems slightly cacophonous with its vocals after the really quiet and melodic intro song. It’s loud and quick paced, pulling the listener in with it’s energy as it slows down and the distant megaphone voice first heard in the intro makes a second appearance. Then, the sound gets big and melodic. Somehow the song makes this variety of switches and changes work well together, flowing seamlessly from one to the other. It pulls together for what seems to be a slow and melodic closing, but quickly hits the begin speed and style again before hitting the big chorus. It keeps the listener guessing, and definitely makes it a question of what else will come from the album. “Nothing Without Love” begins with a slower melody, marking a nice change to “AhHa”. “Nothing Without Love” builds quickly to an energetic and big feeling, that pulls the listener along at a steady pace. It’s a cute little song, and this album quickly makes it known that Nate Ruess is going to be pulling a lot of tricks with his voice and really showcasing his talents. “Take It Back” is slower and quieter as it starts, with the vocals and instruments sharing the focus with ease. It’s somewhat relaxing to listen to, even as it builds gently. The vocals take the sound up to the big vocals that Ruess is so adept at step by step, and lead the way to let a guitar cut sharply over the rest of the song. The song continues to build, led mainly by the vocals. It’s an absolutely gorgeous listening experience.

“You Light My Fire” starts off as energetic, and has a playful feeling to the music that’s complimented by vocals that match the overall feeling with ease, exploding in a melody of instruments and vocals. It’s an easy song to sit and dance to as you listen to it, and is almost an instant pick me up. The energy and playful vibe of the song remains constant through the entire thing, and it certainly cuts its own little niche on the album. “What This World Is Coming To” features Beck and starts off slow and melodic, the vocals coming in emotive and well paced against the music in the background. The energy builds, and a major change in energy is marked by an electronic noise. The vocals are interrupted momentarily by a guitar that matches the new found energy of the song, that continues to transition over the entire track. It’s a gorgeous track to listen to in all honesty. “Great Big Storm” has been previously reviewed and is still wonderful to listen to. “Moment” begins with a moderately quick paced piano that leads into quiet vocals that match the quick pace with ease. It’s another emotive song that grabs the attention with it’s relative simplicity. The song builds into a bigger sound bit by bit, but never reaches the levels of some of the other songs. Instead, it holds its own and focuses on emotion instead of sound.

“It Only Gets Much Worse” shares a piano beginning with “Moment” but possesses a vibration of energy that’s absent in the preceding track. The vocals come in high, and pull the song along at a steadily quick pace, before falling to a quieter point for a moment. The instruments follow the leads set by the vocals, match the varied rises and falls, gaining in number as the song progresses. It’s a beautiful harmony of songs and vocals and it’s balance creates the beauty that is noticeable through out it’s length. “Grand Romantic” is opened by vocals and a quiet hum of energy that promises a beautiful build as it slowly starts. An echoing effect is mixed in at points as the song continues to build to a crescendo, before letting off again. It’s a mix of sounds and effects that create a beautiful and emotive track that fits perfectly as the titular track on the album. “Harsh Light” is a change from the choir like ending of “Grand Romantic”. It builds quickly, blending energy with the vocals and instruments. It’s less melodic than a lot of the other songs on the the album, but it’s gripping in it’s own right. “Harsh Light” helps bring in a different feeling as the album starts to wind down, and mixes in a variety of mainly optimistic emotions that help pull the song together in a certain sense. “Brightside” opens with a hum of energy that leads to vocals that cut starkly against the hum, and slowly invite more instruments in as the song continues. The vocals easily carry the song, even as the instruments build themselves around the perimeters set by the vocals. It’s a beautiful song to end the album on, with a mix of emotions and a build that really defines the entire track. The track ends on a mix of a music box effect and a dissonant wind down of other instruments and sounds, letting the final notes resonate in your ears.

All in all? This was a wonderful album to listen to, and I hope to hear more from Nate Ruess really soon – whether continuing his solo career or the already established career he has with Fun. Grand Romantic is definitely worth the time it takes to listen to it, and it was more than worth the wait that led up to its release.

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