Gavin DeGraw celebrates his birthday on Feb. 4, so AXS is celebrating the Grammy-nominated singer and songwriter by presenting music fans with a Gavin DeGraw playlist featuring his five most underappreciated songs. Give them a listen here, and keep up with DeGraw's latest music and concert dates on his artist page on AXS.
How can the song that made Gavin DeGraw a star be underrated? Most people know "I Don't Want To Be" from its extensive use in other media, most notably as the theme song to the WB/CW teen soap "One Tree Hill" (on which DeGraw appeared performing it). That's all well and good, but the song is also so much more than that. It contains a strong message, has a wonderful sound, and a hook that would make any songwriter jealous. Most people know it as a popular song but it's worth hearing again so that you appreciate how good a song it is, too.
DeGraw's 2013 album Make A Move contained some of its best work, including this song that he co-wrote with Grammy-nominated producer Busbee. "Who's Gonna Save Us" is exactly what the title suggests, a song questioning who is going to come to the rescue if anyone. But even when writing a song with more of a bleak outlook, DeGraw infuses it with a warmth that still makes it feel hopeful. He's yearning for something but at the same time leaves the audience with hope that he (and the listener) will find it. The song shows his range as an artist, and not enough people have heard it.
From the same record came "Everything Will Change," which could be described as the antithesis of "Who's Gonna Save Us." DeGraw and Martin Johnson came up with a tune that talks about how someone's world changes entirely but that's not necessarily a bad thing. It's an anthem for change, which is a message that everyone could stand to hear more often. DeGraw puts on a great vocal performance, and inspires the listener at the same time. The end result is a song that should be on every music fan's playlist for a rainy day.
The title track of Gavin DeGraw's debut record still holds up extraordinarily well today and demonstrates why the pop world fell in love with him. "Chariot" is just good, pure fun from start to finish. The piano in the song is amazing, and it's the kind of upbeat track (both in terms of sound and tone) that just makes an audience want to party. It's like the pop version of a great church gospel tune. "Chariot" shows off both DeGraw the musician and the singer, and both halves come together in an endearing package that never gets old. How many songs can say that?
If you missed DeGraw's most recent album, you missed out. "Something Worth Saving" is also the title track, and it's his finest vocal performance. DeGraw is the sole writer of the track, and so his songwriting skills stand alone in this heart-wrenching ballad about trying to save something you love at any cost. Though so much of music is about collaboration when an artist truly shines is when they're standing on their own, and with this song, DeGraw is a phenomenal singer and an equally marvelous songwriter. It's possibly the quietest song he's ever written, but it deserves to be heard loud and clear.
For more on Gavin DeGraw, visit his artist page at AXS.