Never Shout Never

What Is Love?

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An emo album with an acoustic twist, What Is Love? marks the debut of 18-year-old songwriter Christofer Drew. Like Adam Young -- the sole member of Owl City -- Drew launched his one-man band by promoting the songs on MySpace, where his tales of angst and adolescent love found an appropriately teenaged audience. While Owl City proved to be heavily influenced by the Postal Service, though, Drew writes his music with a wider range of influences in mind, flaunting a sound that owes equally to Jason Mraz, the Honorary Title, and the Early November. Producer Butch Walker, no stranger to one-man bands himself, rounds out the mix by adding harmonies, orchestral instruments, and finger snaps. The result is a breezy, commercial record -- indeed, What Is Love? charted at number 24 during its first week of release -- but the bulk of the album is flawed at best, its eight songs rarely venturing outside the unholy trinity of Hot Topic mall culture, LiveJournal blog entries, and the influence of C-list Warped Tour bands. Drew's ability to write a pop melody is somewhat promising, but it's too hampered by pinched, nasal vocals to make much of an impression, and the album’s short running time proves to be one of its only assets.

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