Andy Grammer Shares Stories Behind Tracks on 'The Good Parts,' 'A Very Good Snapshot of Where I'm At'

Joseph Llanes
Andy Grammer

With five Billboard Hot 100 hits -- including the top 10 smash “Honey I’m Good” -- to his name, Andy Grammer had plenty of “good parts” of his career to celebrate going into this year. But even though his music was clearly resonating prior to his latest LP, The Good Parts, Grammer has never been more excited to put out a body of work — and not just because of his past success.

"This is the first time I’m going to release an album that all the way down in my deepest self -- and as a people pleaser, this is a really crazy to say -- I don’t care if you like it,” Grammer tells Billboard. "To actually believe that when I say that… what a different place to be at as a 33-year-old artist.”

Though Grammer has never held back in his lyricism, he suggests that he explored topics on The Good Parts that are in a "different realm” -- perhaps, in part, thanks to the fact that he became a dad to daughter Louisiana (Louie for short) in August. Tracks like “Always” and “Spaceship” reflect that part of his life, but there’s plenty of other relatable personal topics on the album: his wife, the realities of growing older, health scares and simply not taking life for granted.

Ahead of the album’s Dec. 1 release, Grammer discussed a handful of the album’s 13 tracks to give fans some background on the collection of songs he chose from the 115 he wrote for The Good Parts. And while Grammer says that he accessed the most "vulnerable and interesting” parts of himself for his third LP, he promises his confidence in the record is justified through the music.

"I love going places that could sound cheesy, but when you hear them just sound sincere. I do feel like we did it pretty well on this one -- I’m really proud of it,” he says. "At this moment, I love it so much that if you don’t like it, it’s probably not for you then. Because this is me. As an artist I care to show where I’m at, and this is a very good snapshot of where I’m at."

"Freeze"

[That was] the last song we wrote — it fits a sound palette that wasn’t on the record yet. That was kind of an ode to -- it’s like my version of "Sunday Morning" by Maroon 5. When I was a street performer, before I had any songs of my own that anybody would stop and put in money for, I would always be doing covers. Even with covers, people wouldn’t stop in the beginning. And then the first song that I covered that made everyone stop was "Sunday Morning." So, you know, I could even say most of my first album would be trying to write ‘Sunday Morning’ over and over and over again. And now, I have a little ode back but kind of with an updated sound but still similar -- it’s nice to have that.

"Smoke Clears"

It's very autobiographical, about a health scare that happened when we were on vacation in Ireland, I fainted in the shower and chipped my tooth and looked like I was having a seizure because I hadn’t slept in like, 2 years.

"Workin' On It"

We’ve all got vices, and we’re all freakin’ trying. And I love being able to sing it in an upbeat way. But I think in a show, to have people singing “we’re just working on it,” I love that.

"Grown Ass Man Child"

That’s one of the better bass drops that I have ever. I love that. That’s great. I wrote that with a couple friends, one of them is this guy Oak — he did ‘Sorry Not Sorry,’ by Demi Lovato. To have him be a part of that, it just so nuts. When the bass hits, it almost moves your car. It’s great. It makes me so happy.

"Fresh Eyes"

Fresh Eyes was my own little discovery of having been in a relationship for a while and realizing that my favorite part of it is being surprised. Me and my wife have been together for over four years now, and anytime she does something that throws me off, that’s kind of fun. Like, "I didn’t know you knew those rap lyrics!" or "I didn’t know that you danced like that!"

I was sitting at a dinner with my wife and two friends that had never met her before and you could see that they were understanding throughout this dinner how awesome she was because they had never met her. And then, kind of through their eyes, I’m like, “Oh yeah she is awesome.” I spent the whole dinner loving her deeper than I had been in the last week [Laughs] – not that I didn’t love her but it was kind of an extra fresh take.

"Always"

I was singing [that] to my daughter right when she was born, and she was still kind of crying so I’d put her in a little cart and do a lap singing that song to her. It’s very sweet and emotionally connected to me. [It’s] really sweet, I’ve been bumping it in the car – me and my little 3-month-old, we go to coffee dates every morning and I play that song to her, it’s so sweet.

"Spaceship"

That’s like, the best bridge I’ve ever written, which is comparing to the womb -- which is the world before this world -- and wherever you go when you die as the place after. So, I imagine my mom -- like, as I was singing into the womb to try and let Louie know that she was coming to someone that loves her I imagined, while I was singing to her, ‘Ah, I wonder whether my mom is doing that to me from wherever she’s at.’ She passed away. But that’s such a cool idea.

"Civil War"

I’d already written a song that day, after writing on the bus, I went up to the hotel and laid down — and this idea just started tapping on my head. I think I might have actually said it out loud, like, "I don’t want to! I’ve already done it today."And it just wouldn’t leave, so I just like sat on my bed and wrote a song in -- it probably took me about 40 minutes. It’s such a sweet, sweet song. That doesn’t happen very often. Usually it’s a very painstaking process, but that one to me is a really sweet kind of argument with God about, ‘You created me, and if you knew while you were creating me that I was gonna be a civil war between being a good person and having bad tendencies, why? Why did you have to make me that way?’ And it’s such a sweet, simple idea.

"Grow"

I just love these kind of laws of the universe. My obsession is how do you take things that are almost scientific laws of emotions or what it’s like to be alive and try to write it out in a pop song? And so, yeah, you gotta grow. We all have to keep growing. The only way that you’re happy is when you keep growing. 

"The Good Parts"

If someone does a memoir, there’s a piece of the memoir that everybody really wants to hear about – the good parts, that’s what we want. I want you to tell me what it is to be alive as you.

The translation from your heart to the recording usually loses a lot – [it’s like] an emotional telephone game, so when you hear it back it’s like “That’s not quite right.” But then there are times, especially a line like “Tell me your story but don’t leave the good parts out” for me, I knew that that carried even more than I initially felt. Once that line came out of my mouth, I was like “Oh man, that’s one of my favorite lines I’ve ever written.” I remember calling my manager saying “I think we have a title.”

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