TRACK REVIEW: Greyson's newest single hints towards a more ambitious next album - without fully committing on its own.
Back in 2010, a video of a twelve-year-old boy performing Lady Gaga’s ‘Paparazzi’ at his school talent show went viral. Remember that? He had swoopy Bieber hair and skipped over the ‘eyeliner and’ part of the ‘eyeliner and cigarettes’ line. Also, he was really, exceptionally good.
That boy was Greyson Chance, who is now twenty-two, very gay, and still singing. Last year, he quietly dropped his second album (and first in eight years), portraits. Despite getting some decent press, including being Billboard Pride’s ‘Artist of the Month’ for March 2019 (woohoo?) that album mostly flew under the radar.
Now, he’s dropped his second single of the year, titled ‘Honeysuckle’. The first was ‘Dancing Next to Me’, a distinctly fine synthpop jam. ‘Honeysuckle’ is, at the very least, a bit more adventurous than that track. It kicks off with a single a cappella but effect-laden vocal line. It takes almost a full minute for the beat to drop. And when it does, that shit is minimal. The production here (by Greyson himself, along with kwassa) is extremely stripped back. That’s not a bad thing, as it allows the song to breathe a little bit. The emphasis here is on the bouncy melody and the truly wacky vocal effects.
Ironically, though, those vocal effects wind up being the song’s strongest element. The track as a whole feels a bit like a rehash, albeit a decent rehash, of the same stylistic choices that elevated Troye Sivan’s excellent 2018 album Bloom. The problem here is that Bloom was released two years ago, making ‘Honeysuckle’ sound just a bit behind the curve.
Of course, not every song has to be groundbreaking to be good. And this song is good, especially in the final 30 seconds or so, when Greyson’s voice is pitched up to the sky. It would have been nice to hear a bit more of a build to something fuller and lusher towards the end, but instead the song clips itself at just over two minutes. In a way, that’s smart, as it leaves the listener wanting more.
This seems like a song that may work better in the context of the upcoming album. Clearly, Greyson and team are interested in exploring more unique sounds this time around. Hopefully the album will fully embrace the inventiveness that this track hints at.
Take a listen to ‘Honeysuckle’ below and let us know what you think in the comments!
Postnote: This article has been updated from a previous version which erroneously stated that Greyson Chance was twenty-three as of publication.