Takoma Park native Eric Hutchinson’s last release, 2007’s “Sounds Like This,” was a nifty pop album with an even better back story: The singer-songwriter was dumped by Madonna (her record label dropped Hutchinson before he could release an album), adopted by Perez Hilton (his endorsement helped “Sounds Like This” land atop the Billboard Heatseekers chart), and by the end of the ’00s had become a Jason Mraz for people who didn’t like Mraz. Or who really, really did.
For better or ill, “Moving Up Living Down” doesn’t differ in any meaningful way from its predecessor. A limber, good-natured folk disc pumped full of blue-eyed soul, it grapples with the usual quarter-life questions of identity, friendship, life choices, love and the wisdom of bottle service.
Hutchinson loves to a weave a dark lyric around a toe-tapping melody, and the best songs here are often the ones with the greatest disparity between words and music, such as the opener “Talk is Cheap,” one of several bro-reggae (Broggae?) songs scattered throughout. “Moving Up” is, essentially, a bunch of good songs and one great one, “Watching You Watching Him,” a potential smash about a guy, a girl and another guy. He doesn’t take this stalker-anthem-in-the-making as far as he might have, but it’s still a smart, unsettling listen and about as genuinely creepy as the affable Hutchinson has ever sounded.
“Watching You Watching Him,” “Breakdown More”