I first encountered Eric Hutchinson a few years ago. His video for “Ok, It’s Alright With Me” was featured on a one of Journeys’ music video loops, and at the time, I worked in the mall, and my boyfriend and best friend at that point both worked there, so needless to say I spent way too much time watching their video loops. That song gets stuck in your head easily, is super singable, the piano base is great, and as a designer, I always thought that the typography play was fun. (Can I also mention that just re-watching it, the ad on this was for Geek Dating. Awesome.)
After that, I bought his first CD, Sounds Like This, and quickly fell in love. That has been quite a while though, and I hadn’t exactly thought about him much lately. That is until last week the single off his new album was featured as the free download of the week on iTunes. I promptly bought the whole thing, Moving Up and Living Down, instead. This is the video for that single, “Watching You Watch Him.”
Again, similar cute typography play, relatively simple video. I really enjoy that he can play both piano and guitar though, something I love in musicians, probably because I envy the ability. His new album and his old pretty well fit into the two kinds of songs I just presented, really casual fun music, that for me screams summer. His new album, while not really stepping out of his box at all, is as good as the first.
The first song “Talk Is Cheap” is probably my favorite. There’s a little bit of a reggae groove mixed with the guitar, and the lyrics hit home for me on the sentiment of “Talk Is Cheap” as the chorus claims, a sentiment I frequently share. The first line especially, “Lately I’m losing my appetite for all the pretty young girls and the socialites who just talk” is a feeling I get with too many people my age for comfort these days.
“The Basement” is a pretty fast-paced song that definitely could’ve been at home on his first album and also reminds me of old, fast-paced Jason Mraz. The song is really good, but I am left wondering if I missed the memo on what exactly “The Basement” he keeps referencing is, leaving the song feeling kind of weird to me. Is this a mysterious club I’ve never heard of?? Some kind of metaphor? Untold mysteries.
“Living in the Afterlife” is especially upbeat and pop-y. I think I really like it because the lyrics are filled with the idea of letting your boring life die, reinventing yourself and living your life as though you’re living your afterlife.
“In the First Place” is “Talk Is Cheap”‘s competition for me as best song off the album. It is slower and more calm than a lot of the other songs and it has more back-up singing. I don’t have a real explanation for why I like this song so much, maybe because the question “Isn’t that why you started in the first place?” from the chorus is something I ask myself almost daily. College leaves me with this question constantly, as well as leaving me feeling like I need to jump into the last song and live my life more like there’s no tomorrow.
This is followed by “I’m Not Cool” which is adorable and pretty self-explanatory, and “Not There Yet” which embodies my previous two descriptions on the sentiments of life in a somewhat more upbeat way. This song honestly had a vibe of familiarity to me, like I’d heard it before, and I think that’s because it is both very radio-y and sounds like it came straight off the first album.
To summarize: it was like going back in time to the summer where I listened to Eric Hutchinson non-stop. Which could be repeated this year with this album. Heavy and relatable subjects are displayed well in his lyrics, but at the same time, the style of the music makes it impossible to feel anything but positive while listening to him.
Now, my all time favorite song of his is still off his first album, “Oh.” And if you’ve never listened to him, please at least watch this live performance of this song and then maybe you will buy into him with me:
“I’m always sure today’s the day I will die, I want to look good if I get to look God in the eye.”