Yesterday via American Songwriter, EricHutchinson released the second single, “Cooler Than You”, off upcoming album, Class of ‘98, out 4/17. In the cinematic and nostalgic song, Hutchinson travels back to the past and explores the headspace of a rebellious teenager. “Cooler Than You” shows a darker underbelly of Hutchinson’s high-school introversion, echoing a theme that the singer-songwriter has been tackling in his work ever since releasing his chart-topping debut LP, Sounds Like This, in 2007. “I’m always interested in asking questions in my songs: who’s cool, who gets to decide, and where do I fit into all of that?” he says. The track was mastered by Vladimir Meller and is accompanied by an animated video created by Andres Soler. It’s sure to take you right back to the classrooms, notebooks, and cliques that inspired this body of work.
Hutchinson has also added new dates to his national tour that include stops in Denver, Minneapolis, Chicago, and more. For a full list of live dates see below.
Sometime last year, EricHutchinson came to a strange realization: he kept daydreaming about high-school. It had been over twenty years since the singer-songwriter had graduated from Montgomery Blair High School, yet his adolescent dreams, hopes, fears, anxieties and emotions the singer faced as a kid began flooding back; suddenly, the singer felt transported back into his teenage self. Growing up in suburban Maryland, Hutchinson’s teenage years were filled with the type of alienation and private angst recognizable to most anyone who’s ever been 17. Twenty-plus years later, the singer was finally ready to write about it. The result: Class of ‘98, a 90’s alt-rock-inspired autobiographical record that chronicles the singer-songwriter’s adolescence.
“It took me a long time to understand myself,” Hutchinson says. “Writing this record allowed me to get into the time machine and go back and look around my old life and report from my current point of view. That was fun.”
After experimenting with a series of genres like Americana/soul and jazz on his last few albums Modern Happiness and Before and After Life, the singer-songwriter turned to the pop-punk alt-rock of his youth for the riff-heavy Class of 98, taking inspiration from bands like Green Day, Oasis, and Weezer. “That music is in my guitar DNA,” says the singer. “I love 90’s music, and this type of sound was so formative for me.” To help round out his sound, Hutchinson recruited Justin Sharbono (formerly of Soul Asylum) to offer his distinctive guitar playing on the album. Hutchinson also enlisted the sonic guidance and mixing talents of Paul Kolderie, who’d made great 90’s records with bands like Radiohead, Hole, The Lemonheads, Buffalo Tom and The Pixies.
Taken as a whole, Class of 98 arrives as Hutchinson’s most playful yet distinctive work, one that will surely resonate with longtime fans of the singer’s pop-rock hits like “Rock & Roll”, “Tell the World”, and “Watching You Watch Him”.
For Hutchinson, the experience of delving back into his high-school youth helped him learn a lot: about his upbringing, about parenthood, and about himself. “I like the 90’s way better,” he says, “when I’m not living in them.”