Alex Preston (American Idol Top 3) and other WGWG’s

WGWG (n.)- White Guy With Guitar
i.e. American Idol winners between Season 7 to Season 11

Not gonna lie, this week on TV was EMOTIONAL.

But the most emotional part of this week for me was when Alex Preston didn’t make the finale of “American Idol”…
once again, I lost a contestant I’ve backed since the auditions whose album I was most eager to buy…
and again, it feels like this was all orchestrated by the producers.

First off, they reminded us 5-6 times throughout the night that Caleb was under the weather… meanwhile Alex was suffering from bronchitis and got none of those sympathy votes…
To add insult to injury, Alex’s hometown visit package was marred by Jennifer Lopez getting half the split screen. That was really rude. We were screaming at our TVs that she has nothing to do with this homecoming and I felt like she was the one thing keeping me from getting emotional during the package the way I did with Jena’s.

Her and Alex’s packages were great, showing them with their families, their friends and such. Caleb’s package didn’t have that extra low-blow punch for me. After hearing about his negative remark and registering the bias the judges have to support him, I’ve come from being a huge fan to routing against him.
He’s done so many great performances like “maybe I’m amazed” and “skyfall” and a bunch of killer rock numbers like “dazed and confused” and “still the night”… but I go into American Idol looking for the next album I’m gonna buy. I don’t really see that with Caleb unless his leading single is a smash and in the preview during the Thursday show, I really didn’t feel it. The fact it’s called “As Long as you love me” kinda also took me out of it… considering The Backstreet Boys and Justin Beiber have songs with the same name.

Jena has slowly won me over these past few weeks, but the pinnacle of that was when she reprised “Creep” at the request of her hometown. I saw her first performance of it, thinking a lot about when Jeff Gutt did it on “The X-Factor”… this time, I wanted to raise my hand in the air and rave. It was so mind-blowingly awesome. Loved her Elvis cover the week before, but this was the defining moment where I really wanted her to win. You know, if Alex doesn’t make it.

Another reason to back Jena is she would be the first Idol winner from above the Mason-Dixon line.
Caleb’s from North Carolina, same as Scotty McCreery, so that’d be another southern victory too.
Now that’s a end of a streak that’s a long time coming.

But it’s odd… Alex Preston is just another WGWG like David Cook, Kris Allen, Lee DeWyze, Scotty McCreery and Philip Phillips… so I shouldn’t be banking on another Idol winner similar to all of the above, but I was 😛
To me, Alex sounded like Ed Sheeran and rehashed songs the way Kris Allen had in Season 8. Between those two archetypes, he still had his own unique sound. Particularly how he ends songs. That’s why I fell in love with his “Story of My Life” (the first time around, mind you, the encore from Wednesday night didn’t do it for me) and “Stay” and so many other songs he’d done.

After Alex went home, in my sorrows, two songs came to mind from some other WGWG’s in my album collection.
One was “Vision of Love” by Kris Allen.
And the other was “The City” by Ed Sheeran.

And they gave me an idea.

If I’m going to get Alex’s future album, sure to be chock full of great original songwriting like in his original audition song “Fairytales”, I should go through the other WGWGs in my album collection.
With my music, I tend to stick by my favorites a lot. So I’ve been listening to a lot of Lady Gaga, Nelly Furtado, Carrie Underwood and Karmin lately because they coincide with a story I’m writing. But at the same time, certain artists and albums get neglected… sometimes for years 😛

Every now and then when there’s a lull or things like these happen, I revisit albums that I haven’t gotten to know quite as well. The first thing I do is determine how many songs I will revisit vs. how many I won’t because I’m not as crazy about them. After that, I have a better feel of the album as a whole and I learn what my favorites are.

Aside from being WGWGs, these two albums have another thing in common…
I didn’t come away with the best first impressions.

Ed Sheeran, I have a much better idea of the type of artist he is now. I was thrown the first time around when I noticed how fast his delivery can be on some songs, almost like he’s rapping. I’m not a huge fan of rapping in music, but with the help of Karmin, I’ve been coming around. Another reason why I want to get to know his album better is to prep for his new one, in case I decide to get that as well.

on another note, that’s why Christina Perri’s first album is among the ones I want to revisit. I’m already setting my sights on her newest one because of her single “Human,” one of my new favorite songs (plus Jessica covering it on American Idol adds to that too).

So I listened through Ed Sheeran’s album last Friday while I was driving through quite a bit of rain. It was a good companion because I could have the volume cranked up without it being too loud and I was better able to hear all bits and pieces that make him unique. What I noticed with his single “The A-Team” was that he’s a great songwriter and lyricist and his music is very acoustic in nature. You can feel and hear every note that’s strummed and played on the guitar, almost like it’s being played in the same room with you.
Despite one or two songs I don’t really care for, the album as a whole is really great. Aside from the acoustics of the music, I love the nuances in his voice, how emotional it gets at certain points and how he chooses to go above and under certain notes. I feel like that sets him apart.

As for Kris Allen’s 2nd album… well, for starters, I loved him throughout his Idol journey. I didn’t imagine for a moment he’d go on to win the whole thing. Didn’t think everyone else would fall for the boy next door the way I did.
Loved his voice and loved how he changed up every song he got and made them his own.

My one issue with him is hard to explain. The music he sings and writes isn’t the type of music I thought he’d go on to work with. What kind of music DO I imagine him doing? I don’t know. I wasn’t super thrilled with his first single. Most of his first album is full of songs that didn’t exactly scream “mainstream”… the kind of songs I’d hear on the radio.
It’s even more unfortunate that he never really got another single on the radio. Occasionally I’d hear “The Truth” which was co-written by and featured Pat Monaghan from Train.

Then with his 2nd album, I had a couple moments throughout where I just got so depressed and it was over a very strange reason that’d only make a difference to me.
The first song “Better with you” sounded like a song Jesse McCartney would have done a decade ago, when he was still doing pop music… it made me miss how he used to sound and it made me miss my boybands…

As a whole, the album had emotional ups and downs for me that made it hard to fully engage in.
Listening to it last Friday morning helped get rid of some of that animosity and I really fell in love with a lot of the songs. There’s only maybe one that stands out in a negative way and falls in line with something else I do with certain albums. It’s a habit I got into with Prince’s music. I’d carve out the songs I didn’t like or that conflicted with the view I have of the rest of the album so I can focus on what I believe the overall message is.

The song in question is called “Monster”… for me, the lyrics do not fit the vision I have of Kris Allen as a person. In the lyrics, he talks about how he changes constantly and isn’t the man his girl has come to know… to me, he’s just too good to fit into the scheme of this song :shrug:
One day I will give the album a thorough review where I go into how each song DOES fit how I see him as an artist and as a person, but I was so impressed with it that I thought about skipping Ed Sheeran and listening to some songs again.

So while I’m going through other WGWG’s in my collection, I revisited Tate Stevens (so far the only US “X-Factor” winner to put out an album). His album didn’t sell well, which helped add to the eventual failure of the series… I’m still waiting on Alex & Sierra and considering they’re working with John Legend, I know they’re in good hands and this album will happen 😎

maybe there was a reason why it didn’t sell well… going into it today, I really wasn’t excited about any of it.
The man had a lot of heart when he was on the show and I loved him every week. But he came off as a very generic country artist. The songwriting, in a word, was weak. He co-wrote a lot of the earlier tracks and most of them were just not very good. They were steeped in country-boy clichés and the lyrics were too simple to really hold my attention. The only song I felt anything for was called “Ordinary Angels,” which talks about how certain people are going through trouble in their lives and are helped out by ordinary people. Either because I’ve been coming around spiritually these past few months or because there’ve been a bunch of stories like that in the news lately or it’s just very heartfelt in general.

It’s very unfortunate because he’s a great guy with a great family and he needed this break.

And while I was at it, I gave Scotty McCreery another spin. When he was on “American Idol” last Thursday with his new single, “Feelin’ It”… not gonna lie, I was in LOVE with him and this song. I loved his voice as I always have (again, he was one of those good looking, great sounding, boy next door types I enjoyed every week but never imagined would win), I could not stop smiling…
Months ago when his new album came out, I was saying how I wasn’t going to get it because I wasn’t a huge fan of his debut.

That’s not entirely true. The 9 songs I really enjoyed out of it were all great. Just as a whole, it’s not as strong as my personal favorites and I’m not exactly the biggest country music fan. With the songs I left off, I did so because we weren’t compatible. I’d said the same thing about “Thank God for Hometowns” on Carrie Underwood’s album… I’m not from the south and I don’t come from a tight-knit community so I can’t relate to that. Just as I can’t relate to “Dirty Dishes” and “Old King James” because I don’t come from a family that says grace or is highly religious.

What’s great about Scotty’s album, though, is that I totally get the type of artist he is. I know he’s a young man coming on his age and how he talks about girls. I know he’s carefree country, talking about the outdoors and pick-up trucks. And overall, the lyrics are age-appropriate. Some are a little cheesy, but the majority tell great stories really well.
Oddly enough, given my previous Carrie Underwood comment, one of my favorites is “WaterTower Town.” I don’t really know what that is, but the way the lyrics are spun, I can picture it in my head. That’s probably what makes the difference. And another of my favorites was “Walk In The country,” written by Keith Urban, which tells me that he’s the type of artist I could get into as well… I think I might be better off checking out random songs on YouTube.

But Tate Stevens not working for me got me thinking I REALLY should check into Blake Shelton. Yeah, I don’t wanna see him win “The Voice” again, but I gotta check out his music because it just wouldn’t be right 😛 I hate when he wins (except with Cassadee, that year I was his biggest fan because he helped her achieve so much) but I love his personality and he’s got a great voice too.

over this week, I’m gonna check back into some more WGWG’s.

I got to know John Mayer’s “Battle Studies” album really well and other than 2 songs, I love it.
I got the follow-up album “Born and Raised” because I loved the single “Shadow Days”… it’s been a while since I’ve listened to it so I don’t remember much of it. It didn’t stand out as a whole in the same way. And figuring it is something I ought to do… because as a person, I do not like John Mayer and will likely never get another album.

and last by not least…
Tomorrow I’m going to listen to David Cook’s album. I commented ages ago when I first got it that I really did not like it.
I loved the two singles so much that I HAD to get it and it was the freebie I got in one of my “buy 3 used, get one free” deals at FYE.
The time when I picked the album up for a listen, I was going through a lot of stuff. I was stuck on the unemployment line (figuratively of course) and in that mindset, the songs came off in a very depressing fashion. Depressing as in I wanted to crawl into a ball and drown in my own tears… I’m in a slightly better place for now, but this is also something I’ve been meaning to do for a while. Just to see if I can turn the album into a source of positivity instead of being a reminder of negativity.

So, while I wait for Alex and Jessica to get signed and put out albums, I decided to do something I never thought I’d do…
I visited the iTunes Store and bought songs.
I bought myself “Blue Eyed Lie” and “Fairytales” so I won’t be forgetting them anytime soon.

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