Grant Smith’s return this month brings a stylishly seductive song that layers rhythmic, acoustic-blues on top of trip-hop on top of pure soul and story telling. Better Up There hits with precisely the level of impact required to follow up such a characterful release as Broken Eyes. It’s three minutes and thirty four seconds of uniquely creative, compelling music and performance, and it sets in stone the fact that, as an artist – Grant Smith is more than worthy of your attention.
Grant Smith’s approach to songwriting and performance offers a distinct sense of identity. You recognise that vocal tone, that laid back, soulful or even jazz-infused energy. The style in which he sings has a softly theatrical and simultaneously soothing aura to it. From the offset you’re drawn in and surrounded by the song, lost in the simplicity at first, later the build up and the gradually evolving passion. As things progress, the delivery changes, the movement within the melody takes on a touch of creative freedom, and all the while you pick up on certain lyrics that linger in your mind.
The lyrics to this song are superb, though with the swagger and rhythm taking on such a strong role it’s not necessarily the story that first reaches out for your affection. You lose yourself to the energy of it initially, the effect of that blues-rock attitude, the simple yet immediately memorable melody. Once you’ve crossed paths with the hook you start to wonder what you missed, and with the nature of the song being incredibly addictive and easy to listen to on repeat – it’s no challenge to go back and replay the whole thing.
The concept is brilliant, the first verse lays bare the sentiment – the story line, the imagery – the second verse is where it all comes together; takes on a life of its own, captivates and hypnotizes you. The whole thing is provocative and intriguing, not to mention performed to a sensational standard. Grant Smith is a masterful singer and songwriter. I look forward to hearing what his future releases bring about.