Album review: Gavin Creel – Goodtimenation (2006)

“Most everyone goes the same way as you
Just love me as I go mine”

You gotta love a musical theatre performer who doesn’t take the easy route into a recording career by making a record of the same old standards and pop songs that have been recorded by so many before, no matter how heartfelt their interpretations. And the Tony- and Olivier-award winning Gavin Creel is one such chap, going down the self-penned route with his 2006 debut album Goodtimenation.

And it emerges as a solidly entertaining pop record whose only real weakness is that it perhaps tries to cover too many bases in the spread of songwriting styles. So we go from gorgeous Beatles-inspired choruses on ‘Rocket Ride’ to the ill-advised aping of Madonna’s rap from ‘American Life’, there’s a smattering of frat-boy summer pop on tracks like ‘Radio Lover’ and more cheery radio-friendly material like ‘Might Still Happen’.

Connecting it all is Creel’s smooth tenor, which is consistently at its best rocking the acoustic, almost folkish energy of songs like ‘For Nancy’ and ‘Molly’s Song’ which highlight his innate musicality. At times, the sound turns a little towards the overproduced, the programmed drums being the greatest offender but at the same time, the down and dirty vibes of ‘You Pretty Thing’ are pretty much irresistible.

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