Audio Mixer: Serban Ghenea.
Photographer: James Minchin.
Stuck in a netherworld of near-hits, Gavin DeGraw decided it was time to make a bold move for his fifth album, broadening his soul-inflected rock on Make a Move. The change is apparent from the start, when the lead single "Best I Ever Had" stomps to a beat borrowed from folk-rockers the Lumineers and the title track struts like Maroon 5. After that, Make a Move settles down a bit, returning to the loping classic rock gait that brought DeGraw fame ten years prior. He still flirts with the present -- "Need" is a cool, slick piece of Europop; "Every Little Bit" and "Different for Girls" demonstrate that either he or his producers have been listening to the savvy new wave appropriations of Bruno Mars -- and these modern fashions fit him well, but he seems most comfortable whenever he's sticking closest to the sounds that made him, whether it's the crunching closer "Leading Man" or a ballad as sweet and simple as "I'm Gonna Try." It is to his credit that Make a Move doesn't seem incoherent as it flits between his past and present; he's a smooth operator, happy to sell these songs with a smile, eager to see them climb up the charts. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine