Music, Print, Reviews August 1, 2017

Album Review: Bryce Merritt: Chroma II

by Jay Wallace

Last November, we spoke to Oklahoma native Bryce Merritt, a singer-songwriter and YouTuber, who had released his first album CHROMA I at the time. Growing up, Merritt had thought only country music existed since that’s all his parents listened to in the car, and began to write country songs. Upon getting his own car and picking his own stations, he discovered Motown and other genres which pushed his songwriting into a Pop direction. Merritt’s follow-up, CHROMA II, is a continuation into pop music, but it’s still a really good album.

At the time, we wrote that CHROMA I is an effortless blend of “pop, with elements of funk and R&B.” The opening track on CHROMA II, “Honeymoon,” is very much an R&B track. It’s chill and sweet, even romantic, while being fun like a good pop song should be. Then “Electric Love” shifts into a heavier pop direction; it sounds like a Justin Timberlake song. Granted, when Timberlake’s good, he’s damn good, so that’s not a dig at Merritt.

CHROMA II’s five tracks, like most pop albums, shift between being fun and easy listening (“Honeymoon” and “Floodwater,” which is my personal favorite track) to being soulful (“If I Do” and “Wonder”) but Merritt’s stuff doesn’t sound overproduced and committee-approved like a majority of pop artists. “Electric Love,” in particular, sticks out on the album because it sounds like it should be on a different album, something that should have been held off until the next album, but it wasn’t. And it doesn’t matter, because of the execution of all the songs, their composition, the songwriting and Merritt’s singing, is brilliant.

That’s what gives Merritt’s follow-up some staying power after you’re done listening to it. Nothing on CHROMA II sounds familiar, and it has a level of personal craftsmanship that Pop music doesn’t usually have. Merritt’s has a true knack for pop music. He’s a pop artist and a great one at that. We’re looking forward to his next album.