Lately there seems to be a renaissance of the massive, Broadway inspired torch-ballad in pop music and right now, there are no bigger proponents than Ian Axel and Chad Vaccarino – collectively known as New York duo A Great Big World.
The pair met nearly 8 years ago at New York University and they enjoyed a modest level of success until last year when their song This Is The New Year was featured on Fox’s smash show Glee and subsequently plucked them from relative obscurity. Then in September, Say Something (their duet with Christina Aguilera) exploded internationally and this month they follow it up with Already Home, the latest single from their January debut album Is There Anybody Out There?
It definitely shares the same blueprint as Say Something with its deliberate, slow-building piano, Axel’s distinctive voice which sits somewhere between Death Cab For Cutie/The Postal Service frontman Ben Gibbard, an early-‘70s era Neil Young and Kermit The Frog, and the same sweeping, cascading strings designed almost specifically to tug on the heartstrings.
It’s a shame that Already Home doesn’t really have anything to set it apart from the avalanche of climactic pop show-tunes that have been occupying the charts of late other than a voice that isn’t strong or charismatic enough to carry a song of this scope. As for the lyrics, it’s a stark and honest tale of a long-distance love and while the sentiment is there, it’s unfortunately kind of uninspired and rehashes the same heart-wrenching one-liners as virtually any other song about this subject matter (“When you’re scared and alone/Just know that I’m already home”).
A Great Big World have done some great big things in the last few months, however they’re in danger of being a bit of a one-trick-pony if their future output relies on the same template as the ground they’ve successfully covered in the past.