Album Review: Is There Anybody Out There? by A Great Big World
Unless you’re an indie pop listener, chances are that you never heard of the duo A Great Big World before they released the duet-version of “Say Something”. The version featuring soulful pop singer Christina Aguilera has been an international hit. Now, A Great Big World’s Ian Axel and Chad Vaccarino have released their debut album “Is There Anybody Out There?”
One of the best things about the album are its lyrics. They are simple, but also upbeat, honest, and empowering. “I’m learning anything’s possible now” the duo sings on the opening track “Rockstar.” “And change will come/it’s on its way/ just close your eyes/and let it rain” sings Ian Axel on “You’ll Be Okay.” A particularly notable track is the LGBTQ anthem “Everyone is Gay”.
In addition to the lyrics, the vocals are great. Ian Axel has a good range that is capable singing some high notes, low notes, and soulful notes. In his case, his best track is the apparently live recording of “Shorty Don’t Wait” which has a blue-eyed soul vibe. Also, his solo version of “Say Something” is worth a listen as well.
As for Chad Vaccarino, he is someone not to be underestimated. While he is usually the secondary singer for most of the tracks, he is given a solo spot on the track, “I Don’t Wanna Love Somebody Else.” Here Vaccarino’s vocals show that he has just as much soul as Ian Axel. With the poignant and sad lyrics added to the mix, you have a track that deserves just as much attention as the duet and solo versions of “Say Something”.
Furthermore, the production is a pleasant surprise. Although there is a pop sound to most of the record, there are elements of other genres too. “Land of Opportunity” has pop and a classy jazz sound while “Shorty Don’t Wait” has a gospel choir in it. Furthermore, the track “Cheer Up” features the calliope (the music you hear at a carnival).
Overall, this is a fantastic debut album. If you like piano pop singer Sara Bareilles, then give these guys a listen.