Greyson Chance came to attention with an awesome, gutsy, slowed-down piano cover of Lady Gaga's Paparazzi. Since then, many view the 14-year-old as the new Biebs. Both started their careers on YouTube; both were just teenagers when the world took notice.
But where JB released R&B-tinged bubblegum pop, Greyson's minders decided he needed a near-middle-aged sound for his debut album Hold On 'Til the Night. Lead single Unfriend You may take its cue from Facebook, but the choppy strings could've come straight off a Coldplay album. Cheyenne could've been written by someone on his fourth marriage. And the title track would be more convincing from Kelly Clarkson (she's far from old, but she's twice his age).
It's not all bad. Little London Girl is filled with feel-good '60s beats, and Stranded is a perfect holiday ode. The problem is Greyson is singing about emotions and experiences, in a way beyond his years. Yes, of course you can fall in love and have your heart broken in your teens. But the way he sings, you'd think he'd been experiencing these things for decades.
The best offering is bonus track Fire, in which he doesn't sound like he's trying too hard. It's a heartfelt, simple number that proves why Greyson has a bright future.