Nathaniel Joseph “Nate” Ruess age 33, is what we call a rock star sadly trapped in the wrong end of  2015. He has a bleeding heart, a big voice right out of musical theatre, and a pair of #1 singles under his belt.

His band, Fun., is one of those subversion-free mainstream rock bands to become chart staples, which must have bring back some glory days to the times of how rock stars used to kick ass. You might remember him from 2011 worldwide success We Are Young, off Fun.’s sophomore album, Some Nights, which went on to win the song of the year Grammy and earned the indie pop band a second Grammy for Best New Artist in 2013.

Now, after more than a decade of performing with bands like Fun, and The Format, and of course, not forgetting that great duet with Pink, Ruess has now recorded and released a solo album titled The Grand Romantic that presents him as both soulful troubadour and arena hero—equal parts Van Morrison and Bruce Springsteen—with mixed returns.

“Nothing Without Love”, the album’s first single, was released alongside an accompanying music video, which begins with Ruess floating, seemingly aimlessly and heartbroken in a vast body of water. The acappella verse of the song quickly becomes accompanied by music, in an alternative friendly song that sounds more like Fun than anything new, different or crazy from Ruess.

The true nugget in this pop power love ballad is, of course, Ruess’ vocals, which essentially is in a class of its own. Already the original singer known for his projection and unique tone, Ruess really sells it his performance. At times brittle, at times ringing, never monotonous, always full-bodied. Ruess knows how to sing, but that’s not enough to describe what he does when he performs.

“I am nothing without love, I’m but a ship stuck in the sand,” sings Ruess at the very beginning, on a few simple piano chords letting the harmonics resound after each note.  Then the song simply explodes, with Ruess giving proof of his enthralling and overwhelming voice.

The subject of the lyrics may not be one of the most original and innovative, but still, this taste of his debut leaves us with a watering mouth. Though the music itself may lean toward the generics and the lyrics are a little cheesy, Ruess commits to the piano ballad, blasting out each and every line with just as much gusto (if not more) than the line before it.

Underneath Ruess’ vocals, “Nothing Without Love” is, at its core, a soaring piano ballad, pulling from the pop-rock influence of Fun, with some elements from the ’80s epic ballads thrown in just for good measure. And it worked. Like magic.