30 January 2007

NMT: 30 JAN 07 Katharine McPhee --- Katharine McPhee

Katharine McPhee --- Katharine McPhee

Following in the Idol tradition of eponymous albums comes this release from that PYT Katharine McPhee.

She was the runner-up to Taylor Hicks (reviewed here), and missed the big Christmas record season.

Was the wait worth it? Probably not.

Is it bad? No.

Is it good? Not exactly.

Are you glad I included a picture of the album cover? (you know you are)
On to the songs . . .

1) Love Story
A textbook example of soft/R&B/pop. No hard edges, well produced, peppy, and well sung. Will connect with the target audience readily. If you aren't in the target audience (presumably 13-17 year old girls), then this song won't test your patience.
2) Over It
They pull out all the tricks to hide a weak vocal, which is kind of strange cause she doesn't have a bad voice. Guess all those tricks are habits now since producers are so used to pumping up weak talents. Very by the numbers. Could have been released on any major R&B/Pop album by any radio friendly artist at any time over the past 10 years. As far as this song goes, I'm over it.
3) Open Toes
It could have only been better had it been called "Stripper Shoes". Her ode to open toed shoes. It's so wrong for her, that it's right. It's her call for all the girls to go out there and work their stripper shoes. The whole song is built around a sound that sounds like a morse code being tapped out. Fascinating song.
4) Home
The cliche factory that pumps out the soulful ballads worked overtime to stuff this product full of their full line of tricks. Piano, check. Chunka-chunka-thunk drums, check. Ponderous bass line, check. Strings, check. Ever emoted vocals, check. Vaguely self-esteem building girl power lyrics, double-triple-quadruple check.
5) Not Ur Girl
Well, if you misspell 'your' in a Princean way, you better damn well bring the Princean funk. There is some funk to this, but not nearly funky enough to get away with stealing Prince's misspelling style. A good song, just more Klymaxx then Sheila E. (damn, everybody's got a website), I've got high standards, what can I say?
6) Each Other
Well done, but utterly devoid of a soul. This song is an R&B, radio-friendly zombie.
7) Dangerous
Dangerously like every other song you've ever heard of this ilk.
8) Ordinary World
Back to the ballads. Surely this was in some Disney film from the early 90s? No, you say? Oh, well, better than most of these songs. She's a strong singer in her comfort zone.
9) Do What You Do
This is sick (that's the first words in the song). Her "club" song, if somebody else had done this song, I might have liked it. For her it's just, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, and wrong.
10) Better Off Alone
Sometimes singers shouldn't enunciate too clearly. She has a habit of enunciating every word, and for a song like this that tendency drags down the song and sucks the potential emotional impact out of it.
11) Neglected
I could snarkily complain about how much like this song is like other songs in this R&B-lite style, but it's well enough done, musically interesting, and her voice works in this song, so instead I'll say, well done, and brava.
12) Everywhere I Go
One of those songs that wash over you without it touching any of your synapses in a significant way.
Overall, safely commercial, definitely corporate, and yet somewhat unexpected that she'd tackle so directly an R&B/Urban sound rather than sticking to the more broadway/show tune-y stuff that was her strong point when she was on Idol.
It's hard to approach this album without thinking about the potential marketing of it, and which audiences it's designed to attract. This isn't meant to be art, it's meant to be commerce, and there's nothing wrong with that.
In some ways, this is a white-bread repackaging of an 'urban' sound a la Pat Boone, but in a lot of other ways it's probably just a young singer trying on a new guise and seeing if it fits.
It doesn't fit her well, and doesn't play to her strengths.
She clearly has potential, and in this album it's not realized.

1 comment:

Ruth Anne Adams said...

Kellie Pickler's "Red High Heels" is getting a lot of play here on the country stations...

Idols and their shoes.