March 30, 2023
Ithaca, NY | 28°F


Review: Musical pair pulls heartstrings

"Is There Anybody Out There?"

A Great Big World

Musical duo A Great Big World kicks off the new year with their debut album, “Is There Anybody Out There?” The indie rock album is sympathetic and entertaining with lyrics that touch on the topics of equality, love, depression and dreams.

The piano, drum, string and guitar instrumentations give the band a musical style that moves from preppy-Broadway to somber and romantic. The only discordant sound of the album is singer Chad Vaccarino’s nasally voice, which works for some of the tracks, such as “Say Something,” but hinders others, notably “Cheer Up!” Thankfully, Vaccarino’s whiny pitch is compensated for by the beautiful, flowing vocals of the other member, Ian Axel, whose voice is more emotionally striking with its smoother, more melodic tone.

The band’s enthusiasm for its music is especially evident in its clever song “Everyone Is Gay,” which begins with a bouncy piano arrangement and is followed by an uppity drum beat. This instrumental energy progresses throughout the song, and ultimately ends with a powerful electric guitar solo. The track’s striking yet comical lyrics provoke the audience to contemplate gay rights in a more tongue-in-cheek manner. Though the song has a cheerful dance vibe, it shows that the group can touch upon serious topics that impact the world today.

“I Don’t Wanna Love Somebody Else” is the most emotionally provoking, goose bump–giving ballad on the album. The track begins with a quiet acoustic guitar solo and progresses into lonesome vocals. Later, somber, high-pitched string instruments gradually crescendo into the track. The heartbreaking beauty of the track gives the listeners a glimpse into the emotions of a damaged relationship with lyrics like, “I know that it’s time to tell you it’s over/ But I don’t wanna love somebody else.”

A Great Big World has arrived with a bang. Its heartfelt lyrics and distinctive instrumentation give the debut album emotional depth, attracting listeners with obvious sincerity.

Ashley Wolf can be reached at or via Twitter: @@ashleyjcwolf