Nate Ruess’ ‘Grand Romantic’: Album Review

Bleachers Cover "Only One"
Watch Jack Antonoff’s band take on Kanye’s heartfelt ballad.
It’s easy to mistakenly assume that the lead singer of any given band will set the tone for wherever they may travel sonically. After one listen to Nate Ruess’ solo debut Grand Romantic(out today, ) it’s clear that’s not the case, as the fun. frontman has a sound all his own once he rolls solo-dolo.

Sure, Ruess’ epic-sounding voice provides a fun. familiarity all throughout Grand Romantic. It’s inescapable, but his musical risks on the album prove he is more adventurous when he stands alone. Take the first song, “AhHa” — which is really one of those “yell at the top of your lungs” venting tunes — where Nate channels his inner Freddie Mercury at moments throughout the sonic roller coaster ride.

The “Nothing Without Love” follow-up is very fun.-esque as is “Great Big Storm,” which both get all big and cinematic like the band’s songs typically do. Other tracks like “Take It Back,” “Moment,” “It Only Gets Much Worse,” and “Brightside” really allow for Ruess’ vocal diversity to shine. He’s not always yelling at us, and he doesn’t really have to.

Beck is a great backing addition to “What This World Is Coming To” (do we sense a joint project in their future?), while the title track is a dull point as it dilutes itself into Adult Contemporary territory, almost to the point of submersion.

Nate Ruess has fronted a few bands in his day, but with Grand Romantic he’s officially on his own, and the result is pretty damn good. Will we miss his bandmates at some point? Maybe. But for now his solo work is just right.

Idolator Score: 3/5

— Kathy Iandoli