Nate Ruess – Grand Romantic (Album Review)

The lead singer of fun. is out with an album of his own now that the band is on a hiatus. He’s done projects outside of the band before, but this is his first official solo debut. “Grand Romantic” is an album that feels a lot like something Queen would release and Ruess definitely sounds like Freddie Mercury at certain times throughout the album. This is a nice album that mixes genres together in a nice and sincere way. Fans of his band will love his signature and unique sound.

“I am nothing without love, I’m but a ship stuck in the sand. Some would say that I’m all alone, but I am, I’m nothing without love.” This lyric comes from the lead single, “Nothing Without Love.” This is a fun and catchy pop/rock sort of jam that’s extremely hard to get out of your head once you hear it once or twice. It’s not hard to see why Ruess chose this as the lead single. It pretty much is the song that represents what the album is about as a whole.

“What This World Is Coming To” is a track featuring the reasonably popular pop/rock singer Beck. After the past year, Beck has gotten a lot of attention and he continues to intrigue listeners with his work on this song. I like the lyrics of this one; simple but still striking. Ruess sings, “Someone sucked out the life of the room, when that someone said goodbye much too soon.” The soft rock vibe is effective and it’s an all around good song.

The most surprising moment comes from “Take It Back,” a song that features a guitar solo courtesy of Jeff Tweedy. Tweedy is also known for his work with the indie band Wilco. The track overall is a slow ballad filled with sweet and sad lyrics. Ruess’s vocals shine here and you can feel all the emotion he places into it. You can feel the sadness from the very first line, “Well we’re just two ships passing through the night, two lost lonely people inside.” There’s no denying the fact that Ruess is a very gifted songwriter.

Despite his moody yet heartfelt ballads, it’s on the emo-anthem tracks that Ruess clearly ha found his strength. “Harsh Light” is a fun track and is one that resembles many fun. tracks like “We Are Young” and “Some Nights.” This the sound that we know and love from Ruess so it’s nice to hear it on this song in particular. I particularly enjoy Ruess singing, “We all got scars” in the chorus. It’s something that’s been said on other songs, but it’s still enjoyable to hear it here from this singer.

From the huge intro courtesy of Nate, it’s obvious that “Great Big Storm” is yet another anthem. This one is filled with inspirational lyrics from start to finish, but it’s the chorus in particular that catches on almost instantly. “We’re holding our own, in a great big storm, and though we’re cutting it close, we won’t let go.” It’s a fun track that just enhances his sound even more.

I’d say that as a whole, Ruess is finding his own place without his band. “Grand Romantic” has it’s fair share of guests, but Ruess for the most part can handle himself. He writes his own songs that are filled with an equal amount of inspirational, personal, and emotional lyrics. It’s true that Ruess can be automatically recognized due to his unique vocals, but his lyrics and music also allow him to stand out and find his own voice.

Album review written by Rachel Geiger.

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