Album Review: When the Morning Comes by A Great Big World

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[ot-caption title=”A Great Big World during one of their live performances in 2014.” (via surfingsalmon/Flickr)”]

After experiencing international success and fame with the release of their 2013 single “Say Something,” the American musical duo A Great Big World’s next album became highly anticipated.  When the group released the album When the Morning Comes on November 13, 2015, music gurus flocked to stores to pick it up. Songwriters Ian Axel and Chad King have not only remained true to their philosophy of writing sincere, heartfelt music but also resisted public scrutiny and pressure in creating a project that was utterly theirs.

Featuring simple melodies with sparse, piano-based instrumentation, When the Morning Comes is at once polished yet unpretentious.  Despite the fact that many, if not all, of their songs revolve around short, basic chord progressions and neat cadences, Axel and King manage not to sound repetitive through the use of strategically placed percussion and strings.  Fast-paced rap sequences throughout the album propel the music further and provide a delightfully innovative interruption to verses of smooth, lyrical singing.

Unlike those of much modern popular music, A Great Big World’s vocals are consistently clear and easy to interpret.  Focusing on the timeless ideas of love and loss, they convey a huge range of visceral emotions using straightforward language and uncomplicated rhymes.  A Great Big World’s combination of beautiful lyrics set to simple but appealing music definitely accounts for much of their widespread appeal.

Among the most memorable of the album’s songs is the single “Hold Each Other,” released on July 22, 2015. Accompanied by a four-chord piano ostinato, Axel and King join forces to create a contemporary ballad, complete with a pleasantly cascading melody building to a soaring chorus and an appearance by the rapper Futuristic.  “Hold Each Other” is a remarkably fresh take on the classic love song.

Other highlights of the album include “When the Morning Comes,” in which light percussion and rhythmic chants serve as the only accompaniment to Axel and King’s voices for much of the song; “The Future’s Right In Front of Me,” an uptempo tune with delicately strummed acoustic guitar; and “Oasis,” a leisurely-paced, melodic track and the album’s other featured single.

In short, When The Morning Comes is a beautiful manifestation of self-expression through which A Great Big World continue to express their ideals and views. The album is now available for order on iTunes.