American Idol, this year’s finale and 2 of its WGWGs

As I promised myself I would, I got through a bunch of albums I hadn’t given the time of day in ages…

with some pretty good results, I might add.

But before addressing David Cook and Kris Allen, my thoughts on this year’s finale…

it was oddly anti-climatic when they announced Caleb won. I was hoping I’d scored the trifecta as I’d picked Josh kaufman to win “The Voice” and Meryl Davis to win “Dancing with the Stars” with Maks (finally! a win for him! …and someone other than Derek gets to win :-P)…
I don’t know if it was because I was disappointed that Jena hadn’t won and I voted for her as furiously as I did for the other two. All of the above are votes that are restricted to a certain amount anyway, but I say furiously in I was in a rush to get my votes in right away. And I met with a few busy signals I didn’t expect (especially on “Idol,” I’ve gotten through almost every time when it came to Jessica and Alex).
Maybe it was because I’m still fuming that it wasn’t Jessica and Alex in the finale.
Or maybe it was because, as they had a lot of times in Idol Finales’ past, we forgot all about the contestants by the time the winner was announced. At least with “The Voice,” they had more balance.

That said, the guest list was awesome. Although I was peeved a couple of times because almost everyone in the top 10 got a duet… when Colton got nothing on season 11 of making the top 7. What was that about, having Malaya sing with John Legend when she made the top 8? With a song I am SICK to DEATH of? And I thought she sounded horribly out of key, which never happened with her.
Oddly enough, I’ve found myself in the past couple days believing that maybe Phillip Phillips isn’t so #hessodull after all. When he performed his single with Sam Woolf, he owned the stage, made it look like he belonged there. And on the show this morning, I actually found his interview very engaging… I NEVER found this guy engaging, so maybe he’s grown into himself as an artist or it was hard to get close to him on “Idol” because his kidney issues were holding him back.

My favorite duet: Alex Preston and Jason Mraz. They complimented each other SO well and I felt like Alex would be fine too in his career especially if he has Jason Mraz working with him, writing with him.
Quickly followed by Jena and Parmore… and also had me wishing Colton got his duet with Hayley Williams in season 11 like he’d wanted… I know, I need to let that go.

Biggest surprise was Ryan Seacrest finally singing. Not great, but not bad either, with Richard Marx.
I was still kinda so-so about Jake Worthington doing “Right Here Waiting” and this totally made up for it… I mean, nobody has the right to sing that song other than the man himself because his voice on it as iconic and nostalgic as his mullet in the 80’s.

Jennifer Lopez sounded good on her first song (don’t even wanna address “True Colors” cuz I felt like I was getting dumber as I listened to her on it) except the chorus was just stupid songwriting… well of course you wouldn’t have a 2nd 3rd or 4th love if the first one worked out… duh!
(speaking of obvious, my mom pointed out the “live until we die” lyric in Phillip Phillips song… I shoulda realized how silly that sounded)…
then she danced in that skimpy outfit… I was sadly reminded of a middle-aged stripper still working clubs when the other girls are young enough to be her children… it was just sad and kinda uncomfortable to watch at points.

and I was kinda peeved that Jessica’s vocals on the chorus of “Wrecking Ball” were drowned out by the band… I’d have loved to hear her and Jennifer Nettles on more than the verses cuz whatever I did hear sounded great.

so I have to stand corrected on my thing about only people from below the Mason-Dixon line had won these singing shows.
I forgot that David Cook and Lee Dewyze wer from the Midwest (Missouri and Illinois)… but that doesn’t mean I’m not still upset Alex and Angie went home in 3rd place when they were the last hopes I had of an Idol from the northeast to win… I’m from PA so that’s a big deal to me 😛

I made through my list of CD’s for the week.

John Mayer’s “Born and Raised” album was a real sleeper… as in I had trouble staying awake. It was so one-note through most of it. Didn’t really connect with it. I doubt any amount of listening time will change that.

It was kick-ass listening to Orianthi again. It took a while to remember the lyrics, but with the title track “Believe”… that came really easy. Maybe because I relate to it really strongly.

Kris Allen was the biggest surprise with his 2nd album.
Today I gave it one more listen with a tropical island level in one of my Spyro games and it was very fitting.
Every song is great except for the one I mentioned on a previous post. I cannot think of Kris Allen as a “Monster”… just doesn’t add up for me.

It got me thinking as I was listening the other day… are the first albums Idols put out really not that great?
Kelly’s first single was “Miss Independent” and not much of her material on “Thankful” made the radio… I don’t care for that song and still don’t. It was “Breakaway” that really gave her that superstar status.

Clay Aiken’s first album is still his best, but looking at it, it is kinda generic and pre-packaged in its overall feel. There isn’t a lot of heart and soul to it.

Jordin Sparks, I only have her first album to go by and as much as I love it, I can’t help but feel the same thing. It’s something a record company puts out more than the artist themselves.

Kris Allen’s first album, I’ve said I don’t feel a lot of the songs really fit my perception of him. Mainly on the grounds of the songwriting. I think only “Alright with Me” and “Send me all your angels” really fit him perfectly. Everything else, whether he co-wrote it or not, it doesn’t fit my idea of him. A lot of the tracks were very melancholy actually, like they were about relationships breaking up or falling apart.
And when I think of it as a whole, I see a very rainy forest green color. Maybe going back to when I was first listening to it on my commute through wooded areas. And maybe because that’s the color of the album cover art 😛 I’m weird like that.

the second album felt freer to me. Kris co-wrote almost all of the tracks, maybe all of them. So they had his own personal stamp on it. Mainly his vocal delivery with that boy-next-door school-day-crush makes-me-melt vibe that made me feel in love with him on American Idol.
And I felt very receptive to it because the songs were happier, they were about embracing relationships and trying your darnedest to hold onto them. Also very much get a summertime vibe from it 😎 which I could always use.
The only issue I really had with it in the beginning, other than the boyband-esque first track, was “Vision of Love” where I couldn’t make out the chorus.

“will we stand for the vision of love?”
I didn’t really love it when I heard him do it on American Idol and the way its written, its as predictable and cheesy as a radio-friendly lead-in single. It kinda lacks the heart, but considering he was singing “someone tell this girl she’s beautiful” and making someone feel better… I need that in my life pretty often so whenever positive I can reap from an album, I will welcome.
As long as it’s done in good taste 😉
Blake Shelton always makes a point in saying country singers are good storytellers and that’s what separates that genre from others.

To which I say Kris Allen draws me in because he is a great storyteller. He’s so genuine with his music that I believe every word. The first album has some of that too, but it’s also riddled with clichés and some pretty unoriginal, unfeeling lyrics
My personal favorites are such for that reason.
“Weakness” and “Out Alive”… the latter and “Got a way” are great because they discuss a negative situation but impress that he will try really hard to remedy things… or his heart will do that without consulting the rest of him 😛

and I also love his duet “Loves me not” with Meiko. Love how they sound together and I think I might check her solo stuff as well. I thought she’d look more Japanese (Wikipedia says she’s only 1/4).
I’m a sucker for great melodies like on that track.

I also said that Caleb winning would be the first rocker victory for a singing show when Chris Daughtry, Adam Lambert, Jeff Gutt and Juliet Simms failed to win… I didn’t take into account that David Cook was kind of a rock artist. Except his thing on “Idol” was rehashing great 80’s songs.

I’d said how disappointed and even numbing his album was. I first listened to it a couple years ago after getting it as a freebie in an FYE promotion (get 3 used, get one free) and saw too much of my depression in the lyrics.

Now that I’d gotten over some of that (although not all of it which not likely to happen)…

I’ve changed my mind and I’m glad I did.

Looking back at my first review, some of the feelings are still there.
Didn’t like how the two singles (the reasons I got the album in the first place) were back to back.

I loved how “Declaration” set the tone for the album.
It was one of a bunch of songs I could relate to, given where my mind has been with the story I’d been writing (that I’m about finished with)… it says how he supports someone for who they are and doesn’t care who knows it 😎
also kinda cool that it was co-written by Johnny Rezenik of The Goo-Goo Dolls

the 2nd track, “Heroes” I like better than I did before.
“heroes come and go, but you’re still standing”… there are a couple of people I could fill those blanks in with. I’ve had plenty of heroes over the years, a lot are pretty recent.

Then come the two singles, which are both really good…
“Come back to me” has been known to be a tear-jerker because it is kinda sad, but the vocals are so beautifully written.

“and I believe I liked the next song a lot too… “Life on the Moon” was pretty cool”
…still true. It’s one of several tracks co-written by Raine Maida, whom I credit with the signature sound that links a lot of these tracks together and makes them work.

track 6 was where I started to fell out of love the first time. I did not feel good while listening to it because it talks about making mistakes and having to own up to them. It brings me back to that delicate time a couple years ago that had me struggling through this album.

“mr. sensitive” I like, but don’t love as much as the other Maida-co-written tracks… it’s very one-note and forgettable.

I’d said in my first review how “Lie” and “I did it for you” complimented each other as if they were one long song.
Now that I think about it, that is kinda true. They also have in common that I adore them.
The first has a good hook in the chorus and good message “lie to me and tell me that it’s gonna be all right” and more or less saying he doesn’t want to break up tonight.

“I did it for you” is one of my favorite songs because its one of the more melodic songs on the album… the message means well and it’s beautifully written.

“avalanche”, I wasn’t as impressed with and that’s still true to a degree. It’s better than “Mr. Sensitive” but doesn’t stand out like the previous two tracks.

“The lyrics in “Permanent” caught my attention and although it was harsh in some parts (like in the punk rocker type way… which was something I took issue with a lot of songs), it worked out quite well.”

…I’m still working out what it means, but I also realized while listening to it the first time “this was Colton’s audition song”… so that’s why it resonated with me.

The following song, I showed a lot of displeasure with… and it’s still skippable to me.
Firstly because there’s not much melody, nothing to really grab onto as far as something positive.
Then it runs for several minutes without a single sound. A complete waste of a hidden track opportunity because the song at the end of it wasn’t well-written. It was just ugly and depressing….

and last but not least is “The Time of my life”… one of the better “Idol” coronation songs, but I’m still annoyed with the title because it sounds like the love theme from “Dirty Dancing”

Overall, though, my feelings about the album have been rehabilitated and I can totally see myself listening to it more now that I understand it.

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