The excitement toward Eric Hutchinson’s third studio album release has been the buzz for months among the singer-songwriter’s fan base. With so much anticipation to see what will come next, it seemed fitting that Hutchinson would provide his devotees with another carefree set of tunes that would eventually parallel the success of his first album, “Sounds Like This.” Unfortunately his latest attempt, “Pure Fiction,” has fallen short in creativity, leaving nothing but forgettable radio-ready pop songs that are lacking in meaningful content.
The leading track, “Tell the World,” kicks things off with fast-paced guitar riffs and blaring horns, creating a very Mumford and Sons feel. At first, Hutchinson’s ability to mold a catchy tune gives the song potential to become a summer hit, but as it progresses the lyrical repetition is almost unbearable. Pretty much all you need to know about the song is this: “Let’s tell the world all the things we’ve done/ Falling in love in the setting sun/ I got a song and a smile so bright/ I’ll make you wish you were here tonight”.
Hutchinson’s lyrics are simple and sound well when put together, but somehow his stereotypical play on words borders on a bad Jason Mraz imitation. His songs are inconsistent and cliché, mainly focusing on the topics of loving someone too much or someone not loving him enough. Essentially, “Pure Fiction” can be summed up as an ode to tacky heartbreak stories and a desperate longing for more female attention.
Going along with the theme of repetition and clichés, Hutchinson manages to drown each track in a pool of generic synths. The music is recycled throughout most of the album, making some tracks indistinguishable. The beginnings of “I Don’t Love U” and “A Little More” both begin with almost the same arrangement of four notes, except in different keys. The album’s slower songs, “Forever” and “Goodnight Goodbye” make a feeble attempt to bring some variety, but only provide with the kind of music that’s meant to be the background to a cheesy rom-com. The instruments are almost blended together into one mess of man-made music, making it hard to distinguish between a guitar and a machine. It’s hard to believe that Hutchinson couldn’t come up with a different combination of downbeats.
The album’s beacon of hope comes from the two acoustic songs provided, “Forget About Joni” and “Shine On Me.” The only tracks to use identifiable instruments, they provide a nostalgic look into Hutchinson’s previous albums, reassuring us that the old Eric may still be in there underneath the mess of overly-processed music. Despite this small accomplishment, not much hope is left for Hutchinson in this album. Somehow the singer manages to hold onto the awful love-struck cliché throughout “Pure Fiction,” using every recognizable pop sound heard on the radio to accompany his irritating love howls. Hopefully Hutchinson will get over his heartbreak by the time his next album releases, or at least learn to go easy on the synthesizer.
– Cecilia Morales