2. Give Me Something
3. Bumper Cars
4. Almost Home
5. Here We Go
6. It’s about Us
7. Little do you know
9. Just Kids
10. I love you
11. Broken Frame
12. Back to You (Little Things)
13. All For You
It’s so hard to believe it’s been almost a year since Alex & Sierra won the 3rd (and final season) of the American edition of “The X-Factor”… like “American Idol,” started in the U.K., judged by Simon Cowell and carted to the U.S. in hopes of finding “The next big thing.”
I’d been more or less a devout “American Idol” fan since its inception in 2002. Own 16 albums from 10 contestants (winners and non-winners).
With “X-Factor,” it’s been hit and miss. I got invested in a handful of people, few made it past the first couple rounds. But those who did, I got their albums (Chris Rene and Tate Stevens, one great, one not-so-great).
Alex & Sierra were one of my favorite auditions. A stripped down version of Britney Spears’ “Toxic” caught my attention early on and I loved the bestie/boyfriend/girlfriend dynamic. And it rightfully came down to them and Jeff Gutt. Both I would have been happy with and would have bought albums from them.
It was the case I had with Cassadee Pope on (ironically) Season 3 of “The Voice”… didn’t know they were the act everyone was picking to win. I loved them every week and just hope they’d get another.
And the results have been pretty amazing. A) Because they got an album out at all (Melanie Amaro still hasn’t and she won American “X-Factor” first season), and B) the results are amazing.
Now onto the actual album discussion…
As far as debut albums go, this is probably one of the best I’d heard in a long time.
Every song offers a little something different and I love something different about each one.
“Broken Frame” is probably the only one I don’t wholly connect with. But my main issue is the timing of it.
It comes right after “I love you,” which is an emotional ballad. And it lacks the energy needed to really come back from that. It’s also a little slow and dramatic.
On the surface, it reminds me of “I’m With you” by Avril Lavigne, but without the emotional range/differentiation musically or vocally.
And while on that subject…
The first couple tracks of the album reminded me so much of what other artists have done in recent years. Similar sounds. Similar rhythms. This isn’t me saying that there’s a lack of originality. This is a compliment. They’re doing some things a lot of my favorite artists and songs have done.
A few examples:
Scarecrow- Home (by Phillip Phillips)
Give me something- Fleetwood Mac (songs like “Gypsy”)
Bumper Cars- Jar of Hearts (by Christina Perri)
Here we go- Little Talks (by Of Monsters and Men)
It’s about us- (anything from “Glee” or “Pitch Perfect” cuz it’s acapella)
Cheating- Alright with me (by Kris Allen)
Back to you- Details (by Robert Downey Jr.)
All for you- (anything off Casey Abrams’s album with a bit of Ryan Cabrera’s 2nd album in the final section)
I mentioned in a previous entry how I’ve included it among my Autumn Albums
It’s so strong of an album that it actually became a tradition of mine in its first year 😛 although I’m sure I’ll keep some of my personal favorite tracks on my iPod for safe keeping.
A few weeks ago, I found myself in an interesting situation. Only heard the album maybe 3-4 times so far. Yet “Here we go” was stuck in my head
This was the result.
One thing I do love about those guys: they like interacting with their fans.
I wrote a few nice comments and they started following me… I think even before I did 😛 rectified that instantaneously.
The biggest star is the chemistry. How they split the vocals almost evenly between the two. And the harmonies… OMG!! That’s better than a lot of boy bands and solo artists I’ve heard in all the years I’d been buying my own music. (so 17 years). The only one I’ve heard do it better is, obviously, Prince because he pretty much tops everything in my book.
Then of course there’s the songwriting. Except for maybe 2 tracks (“It’s about Us” was spearheaded by Jason Mraz, who has been AMAZING to these guys more than I can say… “Bumper Cars” by Steve Mac and Claude Kelly- the latter wrote for so many people I enjoy… “Little Do you know,” “Cheating” and “I love you”)
okay, they wrote all but 5… geesh 😛
But they really are so good at songwriting that it’s hard to differentiate between the two.
Track by track notes:
love the upbeat energy, great storytelling
Give me something-
so easy going, like something you can chill with swinging in a hammock
great figurative language in the chorus, heartbreaking vocals in bridge going towards the end
a good lull in the action, great sentiment behind it
Here we go-
LOVE this energy, the dynamics with the percussion, great vocals and harmonizing throughout… might be my favorite on the entire album
It’s About us-
it’s a good summation of what this album’s about. Nice job, Mr. Mraz.
Little do you know-
it took me a while to warm up to this one, but the chemistry between the two is its biggest highlight
I have so much fun with this one 😀 super catchy and memorable on the first listen
-another one I didn’t warm up to the first time cuz it’s so different… that something different is what makes it great. I’ve had this in my head a lot the past couple days 😉
I love you-
bittersweet, great harmonies
Back to you-
I thought this one was called “Little Things” thanks to the chorus.
it starts out slow and easy with few instruments (RDJ’s “Details” starts with just his vocals and a piano, ergo my comparison)
It’s a sweet but also bittersweet song. Love the message in it
“all those little things don’t mean anything without you”
Sounds like love to me 😉
All for you-
This was the EXACT type of song I expected them to do based on their “X-Factor” performances.
And it made me so happy 😀 when I came to it after one too many sad songs in a row
The storytelling and jazz club vibe is so cool here.
So overall, I’d say this was my favorite complete album since “A Messenger” by Colton Dixon. Love nearly every song and like listening to it from start to finish.
And like with Taylor Swift’s “1989,” I’m afraid to put it on my iPod… cuz chances are the rest of my music is going to get serious neglect.
And before I forget.. if Alex & Sierra don’t get any Grammy nominations for Best New Artist, there’s something seriously wrong. It’s that good.