Twenty-six-year-old Tom Grennan, born in Bedford, England, had a promising soccer career, but there was something continuously driving him toward music.
He began his musical career as many do, playing gigs at various London pubs with his acoustic guitar. When a representative of Insanity Records heard him perform at the Finsbury Pub, he was offered a contract with the label. His debut EP, Something in the Water, found considerable success in England, as did his first album, Lighting Matches, released shortly after his EP.
Grennan released his second studio album, Evering Road, on Friday. Grennan chose to name Evering Road after his former home in East London, where he resided with his ex-girlfriend. Both factors are at play on the album, as he lyrically explores his relationship with his hometown and the emotional fallout of his past relationship.
“Evering Road is a road in East London which I lived on, and that’s where the story happened—and it’s love, heartbreak, and redemption—it’s got all of that in it,” Grennan said in an interview with Gigwise.
The album explores his past relationships and the toxic effects they had on his life. It documents a transitional stage and marks an exciting new chapter in his life as he still attempts to define his place in the world. He embarks upon a journey of personal growth while detailing his heartache on this album.
The album is largely representative of his unique style of soulful pop paired with his raw, gravelly tone. Listeners feel the emotion in every lyric. Despite the pain and heartache, the overall message Grennan conveys in the album is one of hope. During times of hardship, Grennan’s music provides a solace in which one can truly discover inner strength.
Evering Road begins with “If Only”—a splendid choice for an opener. The robust energy of the song quickly builds as the violin-led orchestra is introduced. In the song, Grennan asks, “Could you imagine if only / The clocks stopped working / And time stopped turning?”
“Little Bit of Love” is the ultimate gem of the album, both in melody and meaning. The song introspectively explores Grennan’s inner thoughts as he sings, “I tried to fly but I used my wings too soon.” Rather than follow the classic girl-meets-boy storyline for its music video, Grennan chose to depict the lyrics from the perspective of someone simply wanting to feel loved. The video portrays unconditional love told through the story of two brothers, meant to reflect Grennan’s relationship with his younger brother. Grennan reinterpreted the song to feature a theme of toxic masculinity in working-class communities, which he felt to be prevalent growing up in England.
“This is the Place” and “Something Better” are both lively pop tunes that found early success when previously released as singles. Similar to what one would hear in a London club in the early 2000s, “Oh Please” has a dynamic beat with clear R&B influences.
“Let’s Go Home Together” is a duet with fellow English singer-songwriter Ella Henderson, a wise choice on Grennan’s part. The two singers complement each other well, producing a song that has been well received by listeners.
Grennan delivers his more soulful ballads toward the middle portion of his album. “Sweeter Then,” “Make My Mind Up,” and “You Matter to Me” each present a powerful gospel chorus and elegant piano backing that perfectly accompany his poignant and graceful lyrics. Grennan shares his promise of personal growth in “Sweeter Then” as he sings, “Oh, I plead trying to be a better man.” “Amen” shares similar gospel roots and focuses on an internal battle of coping with loneliness and struggling with one’s religion. Aspects of Grennan’s ballads are reminiscent of the rich sound of singers such as Adele and Lewis Capaldi—two artists Grennan said he takes inspiration from.
“Long Live You and I” concludes the deluxe album and centers on the idea of moving on and looking toward the future with both optimism and enthusiasm. Grennan accepts the events of his past and the influence they have had on his life, saying he is ready to begin a new journey of personal discovery and possibly find love again in the process.
An album inspired by heartbreak is certainly not a new concept, but Grennan offers a refreshing and redemptive perspective on it and undoubtedly gives listeners some delightful tunes in the process. Although Grennan claims to have lost part of himself during his relationship, after listening to his album, it is evident that this part of him has once again been discovered.
Photo Courtesy of Insanity Records