By Chris Day
Donavon Frankenreiter’s new release, “Glow,” is a record filled with Bob Marley and Jack Johnson inspired “feel good” and “it’s gonna be alright” (the latter of which is actually a chorus) songs that are sung in the style of surfer music with an odd mix of plucky guitar strumming and ambient yet poppy leads in the styles of U2 and Coldplay.
One criticism of the bands U2 and Coldplay is that all their songs sound the same. While many of the songs feature similar elements, the melodies and chord progressions are varied enough throughout each album and both bands really know how to surprise the listener with songs that make the listener say, “That’s U2? Interesting.” This album has none of that; in fact, the songs do all sound the same. Frankenreiter’s vocal range and versatility are both nonexistent. He sings the same handful of notes on every song and every song is sung in the same tone, which ranks as average to below average especially in comparison to Jack Johnson and Ben Harper, both of whom he seeks to emulate.
The main problem with this record is that Frankenreiter wishes he were Johnson or Harper. Not only is he inferior and less creative vocally, but also tries to compensate for it by fusing their style with a different one (U2 and Coldplay) in hopes that the hybrid will yield something fresh.
Occasionally, style hybrids work. It happens all the time in cinema and new styles are often born within the music world from people putting their own spin on what was done before them. This record is not even close to being Frankenreiter’s own. This is the result of laziness. He has a voice and lyrics and is content with the simple and formulaic approach that is exhibited on this album.
Lyrically, I will admit, the album is good. Although it is highly generic, he never succumbs to overusing literary techniques such as generic rhyme schemes. His mixing of writing whatever feels natural with rhyming bits interspersed throughout makes the lyrics flow.
The album, both musically and vocally, is intended to be uplifting, at which it succeeds. It is unfortunate that every other aspect of the record is a disaster.
Anyone who can listen to virtually anything catchy (and I mean anything) will enjoy this record because it is catchy, but catchiness is an abundant substance in the music world, therefore I cannot conceive of anyone that takes their taste in music seriously giving this record much of a chance.