Album Review: A Great Big World – Is There Anybody Out There?


A Great Big World have already proven to be a commercial success, with debut single  ‘Say Something’ reaching the Top 10 and managing to score a duet with Christina Aguilera and 50 million Youtube view. For a debut single, that’s quite an achievement. On the back of this initial success, it is easy to assume debut album ‘Is There Anybody Out There?’ is going places.

The album starts as it means to go on with upbeat track ‘Rockstar’ that, in its guitar lead form, suggests that this dynamic duo can do happy go-lucky as well as a moving ballad; although a certain Billy Joel feel is present throughout. Similarly, ‘Land of Opportunity’ can’t help but bring a smile to your face with its distinctive Broadway, big band stint. In a recent interview the band admitted that one of their biggest influences is Disney musicals and this song illustrates this dubious claim. For a twosome that has been described as indie, this album goes against it. It could be considered overly “poppy” and relies too much on the possibility of a “jazz hands” moment, shutting off possible fans with this Broadway style album.

‘Already Home’ is the stereotypical torch song  very similar to ‘Hey There Delilah’ by Plain White T’s and proves they can do slow equally well as upbeat and it discusses their yearning to go back to New York to be embraced by the city, and possibly the person, they love most. Their beautiful delivery really displays their vocal chops. “When you’re scared and alone, just know that I’m already home”.

My personal stand out track on the album is ‘Everyone Is Gay’, the new ultimate anthem for being yourself. Its sprightly piano backdrop makes the song seem happy and emphasising how being gay is not an issue. Although it is an upbeat song, the lyrics are still hard-hitting, “If you’re gay, then you’re gay/Don’t pretend that your straight”, showing how they want to discuss the issue yet they don’t see it as one, with the song ending in a resounding “Hooray!”

For those Gleeks amongst you, a song covered in the previous season features on the album. ‘This Is The New Year’ is a song for someone, but it is hard to tell as it is so pacey and exciting, saying how you have to let things go and get on with life, but make the most of it. It is basically ‘Glee’ embodied, which explains why they covered it. However, it’s because of this that A Great Big World got some notice in the music industry. Their famous single ‘Say Something’ is the perfect love song and is haunting and emotional. It discusses letting go of the one you love, which makes the duet create more impact, as it is almost like they are singing it to each other.

‘Is There Anybody Out There?’ is a perfect balance of theatricality, emotion and great lyrics. It is an ideal album for fans of Owl City and Plain White T’s. All the songs are great which is a rarity for a debut album and suggests they will find great success.