When I last wrote about Craig Greenberg, I compared him to his most obvious influence, Ben Folds. Now that I’ve listened to his Spinning in Time EP, I can say that Mr. Folds is only one of Craig’s influences. When recorded, he comes off much more in the vein of Randy Newman and Elvis Costello. While that Newman reference may inspire a chuckle or two, but you really can’t knock the man’s songwriting; the same goes for Greenberg.
Opener “I’m Losing You” does indeed sound like it could soundtrack Toy Story 4, which is something I do believe they’re actually making (there’s hope!). I would say it’s probably the strongest song out of the five, but that doesn’t say anything bad about the other four. For myself, “Dragged Down By Your Insecurity” is a personal favorite, but I’m always a sucker for a quicker tempo. It also reminds me strongly of Elvis Costello in terms of it’s hopeful feel and jazz-influenced breakdown. Another Band that comes to mind is Jukebox the Ghost, who also have a love for running up and down the piano in jubilation.
The hooks in all of the songs are more embedded than they appear on first listen, and from the repetition in “Turning Track” to the perfectly (and irritatingly) catch ‘la la’s’ and hand claps in “Our Own Way,” there’s something memorable in every tune. The latter also has a hint of cheesiness to it, but I think it works in the song’s favor. If you’re going to go such a bouncy feel, you might as well have bouncy lyrics to boot.
Like every singer-songwriter throughout history, the topic of love is the predominant force in these songs. Craig goes into deeper detail than simple metaphor, which is nice to see for a change. The only complaint I would have with the EP as a whole is the general length of songs. It’s good that they’re all well built enough to have a multitude of entertaining parts, but sometimes it’s better to be concise and get your point across before the listener’s Facebook updates itself. Of course this is a modern problem, but Craig Greenberg’s a modern songwriter; he’ll figure it out.