Griffin Oskar never intended to be in the spotlight; at 21 years old, he packed his bags and headed to Los Angeles to find work behind the scenes. Thank goodness that sometimes, best laid plans often go awry, because if he’d had his way, the world might have never gotten the chance to experience Hostage, his debut EP set for release on Friday, February 3rd via Republic Records.
Hostage is a shining example of everything pop music should be—Oskar’s heartfelt lyrics offer a depth not readily located in today’s pop scene. “I’ve been looking for a way out of this cage you keep me in,” he sings in the EP’s title track, as the song builds into a full scale bass-driven percussive anthem. After the arena-sized “Hostage,” Oskar continues to reel us in with the dance-inducing, upbeat, synth-y stylings of “Never Loved Me” and “Head Above Water,” reminiscent of feel-good summer soundtrack regulars like Mat Kearney and Ben Rector. Oskar’s buttery voice is rich and warm, and with it, he has the ability to make us fall in love or break our hearts in a matter of sonic moments.
“I’m strong, but I’m not bulletproof,” he admits in torch song “Bulletproof,” the last track on this all-too-brief debut effort; Oskar’s emotive vocals are utterly heart-wrenching, and could move even those with the steeliest resolve to feel the pain of the loss of which he laments. He sheepishly sings of his shortcomings, he admits he’s “a little too good a misbehaving,” and it makes us love him even more. Each earworm-y track on the EP is universally relatable, and has left an indelible mark on this listener; with Hostage, Griffin Oskar proves that he deserves a spot on the big stage. Warm up the spotlight, world.