State In The Real – Penn State Music Scene

Album Review: 'Is There Anybody Out There?' by A Great Big World


A Great Big World duo, Ian Axel and Chad Vaccarino, extend a helping hand to those who find themselves knocked down and in the dark. Their debut album is an uplifting, thirteen-song adventure that answers “yes” to the question posed by the New York duo: Is There Anybody Out There? 

The piano-driven opener “Rockstar” is all about dreaming big. Fingers gliding across the piano take a shift as the song bursts into a full guitar and drum arrangement, like ambition breaking through barriers to put a dream into action.

A whirl of pep and trumpets take us to a “Land Of Opportunity,” a warm tune to remind and reassure that the tred through troubled times will lead to “something better.”

“Already Home” is a piano-induced ballad that sets up for “I Really Want It,” a proclamation that nothing will get in the way of what you want in life. But, as soon as we feel we’ve made some progress, a force from the past puts us at a stand still with the chilling single “Say Something.”  It’s a heart-wrenching, soulful, last hope plea before giving up on love, and moving on.  The album includes the Axel/Aguilera duet version that secured A Great Big World a spot in the heart of the mainstream.

Once again, we are assured that it’ll all get better with unsubtle titled songs “You’ll Be Okay,” “There Is An Answer” and “Cheer Up!” which sounds theatrical and childish, but lovable nonetheless.

The twosome deliver their album’s optimistic and inspiring messages in versatile ways, from the broadway musical elements heard in “Everyone Is Gay,” to the indie-folk, acoustic “Shorty Don’t Wait,” to the mellow lullaby-esque “I Don’t Want  To Love Somebody Else.” A Great Big World assures listeners that there’s a path for everyone out there to follow.