Forget what you think you know about Steve Grand. His sophomore album ‘Not The End Of Me’ lets his talent shine brighter than ever before.
OK. I have a confession to make. Two, actually.
Prior to listening to ‘Not The End Of Me’, I hadn’t actually heard any of Steve’s music. I had heard of him, kinda knew about him and had seen some of his (racier) social media posts (thanks Queerty!). That was kinda it.
I actually thought he was a country star, known for being out and proud from the start of his career. I didn’t know he sang other types of music. I didn’t know that he was more than just a good looking singer. And I certainly didn’t know he was capable of delivering an album as brilliant as ‘Not The End Of Me’ is.
My second confession is that I am not actually a very good reviewer. I love writing op-ed style articles and I love interviewing people, but when it comes to pure reviews, I kinda suck. I don’t know how to describe music, or films or art well. I mean, how do you describe music in words? It’s kinda crazy!
Another thing I’m not really good at and don’t like being is critical and negative. As someone who produces content, I knowhow hard it is to put down your most private, intimate thoughts into words (or music) for the entire world to see – only to have some asshole reviewer dismiss it, make fun of it or be negative about it.
So if you want to a polished and professional review of ‘Not The End Of Me’, go check out Billboard. I’m sure they’ll do a much better job than me.
But if you stick around – I will do my best. The whole album of 12 tracks (plus 3 bonus tracks) is absolutely brilliant. In order to do the whole album justice, I am going to go track-by-track and share my thoughts about each song.
I’ve been listening to this album non-stop for the past 2 days. It really is that good.
This is my review:
Steve Grande – Not The End Of Me
Album opener ‘Walking’ is a catchy way to kick things off.
It perfectly positions where Steve is at in his life. He references his newfound fame (“Caught up in the light / Cameras in my face”). His faults (“Knew I let you down / Promised I would change”). And his vulnerabilities (“Even with all you’ve come to know about me / How can you love me?”).
It’s the perfect mid-tempo pop/rock jam to get the album started. Plus, it’s super catchy too.
‘Pink Champagne’ gets darker and a bit deeper. In the evocative track, Steve gets honest about his drinking and slide into alcoholism (“In those days I would black out daily / Just to numb myself from all the crazy”).
It’s also a great track to showcase a certain tenderness and softness in Steve’s voice. I really, really connected with this song.
The gently building ‘Disciple’ is a powerful, religion-infused track. This time, the sweetness in Steve’s voice is complemented by a vocal strength that perfectly matches the track as it builds to its powerful crescendo. I can see this song being awesome to experience live in concert.
Don’t Let The Light In
This is one my personal favourite songs on the whole album. It’s such a sweet and warming love song. (“This night don’t have to end / If we don’t let the light in”). There’s just something so charming and lovely about it.
Safe and Sound
‘Safe and Sound’ is a mid-tempo piano driven song that perfectly straddles pop/rock terrain. It’s a great vocal showcase for Steve. His voice really does shine on so many tracks on this album. (If anyone ever dismisses him as just a pretty face, this would be a great song to refer them to).
This one’s another lighters-up concert anthem methinks. (“Let your walls come coming crumbling down / ‘Cause baby we’re safe, safe and sound”). Catchy and powerful at the same time.
Ain’t It Something
I love hearing a sexy love song sung about a man – by a man. It’s still so rare. This song is a little ditty of a gem and has made me smile every time I hear it. (“Oh, oh, oh ain’t it something / You’re so lovely”).
Not The End Of Me
The title track of the album is heavy going. It’s deeply personal and raw. (“Yeah I know loneliness like an old friend”).
But it’s also uplifting. Not in a cliche kinda way, but in a genuine, powerful way. Steve doesn’t hide from his pain, he faces it head on. And you can see him coming out the other side of it. That’s what’s so powerful about it.
By the time I got to this, the 8th track on the album, I was starting to get a feel for Steve’s sound – and voice. Or so I thought. And then he sings in a higher register and it all sounds so new and wonderful. It’s a good kind of surprise – and a beautiful track too.
Good To See You
Things stay slow and downtempo with ‘Good To See You’. The recurring themes of the album – perseverance, taking responsibility, letting go and moving on from pain – are all displayed here. (“Trapped inside this broken life, this life that I have made / But it’s good to see you getting on your way”).
Lyrically, I think this is one of the most interesting track on the album.
All I Want
‘All I Want’ is deceptive. It’s slow and simple – but so god damn catchy. It’s an ear worm that I’ve found myself unable to get out of my head.
I have no idea what the planned singles are for the album, but ‘All I Want’ is a definite contender. I can definitely hear it being played on the radio (preferably at full volume).
You or the Music
Things pick up pace with the rocky/slightly country-esque ‘You or the Music’. The catchy chorus is brilliant. (“Please don’t make me choose between you or the music / I’m scared of who might win”).
Can’t Go Back
The album closes with ‘Can’t Go Back’, a tender, almost whispered at times, track. It’s a perfect full circle moment from the opening track. For all the pain he’s gone through, for all the vulnerabilities he’s shown, he can’t go back.
‘Not The End Of Me’ showcases a man – and an artist – who owns his shit, has found his voice, and is now headed in a new, positive direction. He’s informed by his past, not a victim of it. And that is refreshing – and a joy – to listen to.
I may not have been one beforehand, but I am a huge Steve Grand fan now! Do yourself a favour, put any preconceptions you may have about him aside – and just listen to the album.