Skylar Grey: The Melodrama Of Glee, The Sadness Of Nu-Metal, The Blah Of OneRepublic


If you’ve tuned into a radio over the past year or so you’ve probably heard the handiwork of Skylar Grey, the singer-songwriter who’s helped pen the bombastic, inescapable hip-pop ballads “Love The Way You Lie,” “Coming Home,” and “I Need A Doctor.” In the early ’00s she also did hook-girl duty on the album by Fort Minor, the solo project of Linkin Park’s Mike Shinoda; that’s her winsome voice on the hook of “Where’d You Go,” which in retrospect might be one of the most unlikely (and bummed-out) canaries in the pop coalmine of the past decade.

Grey’s recent songwriting output has possessed a particular brand of sad-sack bombast that sounds to these ears like another pop-cultural aftereffect of Glee—these songs hit you over the head with high-school-intense, minor-key-emotion from their first note, even when trying to engage in the quiet-to-loooouuuud progression that you hear on “Coming Home” (above). (Although I will admit that the way Diddy spits out “I hate that song” is pretty cathartic to hear.) This morning she premiered her first solo single, “Invisible,” on Ryan Seacrest’s radio show, and if you were waiting for a song to get sad to while the sun was shining, well, you’re in luck!

The song kind of plods along, with Grey talking about taking diet pills and cutting herself and feeling like nobody knows the real her while a towering boom-boom-bap threatens to make her inaudible as well; the sentiments are simply expressed and will probably have been quoted on multiple Tumblrs by the time I finish typing out this blog post.

“[‘Invisible’] is where I started out when I moved up to the woods and I was trying to find out who I was in the world because I felt very lost,” Skylar told Ryan Seacrest’s webmonkeys. I’m sensing a “For Emma, Forever Ago for drama-club chicks” narrative emerging here (and wondering if this song, with its midtempo nature and adolescent pleadings, will get played on “adult” contemporary stations). Also, her album is called Invinsible, because, well, get it? I suspect this will be a big hit, and really the only suspense as far as its eventual, depressing domination is concerned involves whether some X Factor contestant will warble it on Fox before it’s handled by Glee. On your marks, FOX weeknight schedule!