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Pop - Released November 4, 2013 | Epic

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Pop - Released January 17, 2014 | Epic

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New York pop duo A Great Big World enter the big leagues with their debut LP Is There Anybody Out There? After several years of kicking around the Big Apple's singer/songwriter scene, Ian Axel and Chad Vaccarino entered the public's consciousness in 2013 when their spirited piano anthem "This Is the New Year" was covered on an episode of Fox's zeitgeist generator Glee. The song first appeared on Axel's 2011 solo record and then reappeared post-Glee under the duo's newly adopted moniker. With their earnest, melodic piano-pop and youthful spirit, comparisons to early Ben Folds Five are inevitable, but where Folds tempered his wistfulness with a wry and often mischievous sense of humor, Axel and Vaccarino generally reach for the stars, fueled largely by hope and positivity. The thirteen song album they've built around their breakout single is truly a loaded gun of pop music and it hits the mark more often than not. Brimming with echoes of past piano masters like Billy Joel and Andy Pratt, they're not breaking the mold, but they've certainly read the book. From the E.L.O. punch of "Land of Opportunity" to the Buggles-punctuated "I Really Want It," they tackle some classic pop territory with a wide-eyed sincerity that is ultimately appealing if occasionally trite. A Great Big World fare best when they're singing full-hearted rockers to the back of the room, covering familiar subjects of breaking out and breaking through like on the album version of "This Is the New Year." Dan Romer's production is concise and full of punch recalling his work with bands like Jukebox the Ghost and Ingrid Michaelson. There are certainly moments on Is There Anybody Out There? that don't quite work or would benefit from some subtlety. The well-intentioned, but poorly executed "Everyone is Gay" really misses badly and several of the ballads can't seem to recover from their lack of personality. Still, if you're willing to drink their kool-aid, A Great Big World will deliver you to a pretty happy and hopeful place on this debut. ~ Timothy Monger
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Pop - Released November 13, 2015 | Epic

Following a monster hit and avoiding the dreaded one-hit wonder bin is a daunting task. After 2014's "Say Something," their unexpected smash with Christina Aguilera, A Great Big World had to do something to avoid a sophomore slump. Instead of recording a collection of treacly "Say Something" retreads, they set out to just make music that they wanted to make. The result is When the Morning Comes (Epic), an album littered with more hip-hop beats and handclaps, more rousing choruses and uplifting melodies. It's a bigger sound than their debut, jam-packed with positivity. Many of the songs sound fit for arenas, OneRepublic style; all of them are ready-made for massive singalongs. The breezy radio-friendly hits are plenty ("Kaleidoscope" and "Come On"); they'd sit nicely alongside the poppiest of Coldplay and Imagine Dragons (especially on "Won't Stop Running"). A few piano tinklers ("All I Want Is Love" and "Hold Each Other") sound a little too familiar, but the overall sunny vibe carries the album forth. Much of the songs here sound like they could be grand Disney animation themes, fit for wannabe heroes and kids with big dreams. Album highlights swerve a little down a less bombastic path. "Oasis" is a boom-clap mega-ballad that sounds plucked from the best of Backstreet Boys' latter-career adult material. Standout track "Where Does the Time Go" similarly shows off their maturity, depth, and vocal abilities with aching prettiness and poignancy. It's an overall earnest and heartfelt affair, which should help them find a life beyond their heretofore biggest hit. ~ Neil Z. Yeung
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Pop - Released August 17, 2018 | Epic

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Pop - Released May 11, 2018 | Epic

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Pop - Released March 10, 2017 | Epic

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Ambient/New Age - Released November 16, 2018 | Epic

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Pop - Released August 12, 2018 | Epic

Pop - Released June 29, 2018 | Epic

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Film Soundtracks - Released October 13, 2017 | Epic

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A Great Big World in the magazine
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