Looking for suggestions for Black Friday shopping? Here’s two new albums worth check out.
Kris Allen, Kris Allen
No one expected him to win. 45% of the country was outraged.
But 2009 American Idol winner Kris Allen proves on his self-titled debut album that he deserves that title and more importantly, deserves a successful career in music.
Though he was known for playing his guitar on the show, prompting the acoustic singer-songwriter descriptions, Kris Allen is a collection of much more. His pre-Idol EP “Brand New Shoes” is closer to that John Mayer-vibe and just as good as this album.
But he proves his versatility singing up-tempo tracks like “Can’t Stay Away,” the literal toe-tapping “Alright With Me,” and mellow ballads like “Let It Rain” and “Is It Over.” A little bit of what you’d expect from him as well as some pleasant surprises.
The best tracks on the album include “Bring It Back,” co-written with Francis “Eg” White who is behind “Chasing Pavements.” “Bring It Back” is a beautiful and emotional song definitely along the lines of Adele’s breakthrough hit. “Before We Come Undone” evokes a Kelly Clarkson-vibe that Kris surprisingly fits very well in. Powerful lyrics make “The Truth” a strong single possibility, written by Train frontman Pat Monahan and writer Toby Gad.
The album also features a Phil Collins-esque remix of “Heartless,” arguably the song that helped get him to the American Idol finals. And “From the Ashes,” though a bonus track, should have made the album itself and is one of his stronger songs.
Though the album has sold a respectable 80,000+ copies in its first week, below many people’s expectations, the possibilities for follow-up singles give very strong hope that the album will do very well for itself. And it’ll be well-deserved. Kris Allen is not only one of the strongest Idol debuts, but a strong new artist debut album period.
Waking Up, OneRepublic
OneRepublic’s road to having their major label debut album was a long and hard one. But now the band has released their 2nd album and is continuing to enjoy great success.
After their debut single “Apologize” made huge waves, the band looked to follow up with a wide range of alternative and pop/rock.
On the strength of frontman Ryan Tedder’s songwriter, “Waking Up” features the band taking a step forward with new sounds not on their debut album. Piano and strings build up the emotions, from happy and mellow to contemplative and dramatic, as well as accentuate the signature Ryan Tedder beats.
But all in all an excellent listen setting itself apart from much of the music on the radio today.
Standout tracks on the album: “Secrets,” opening with the cello and leading into the beat-heavy chorus, is a certified hit as a 2nd single. “Missing Persons 1 & 2,” also featuring an interesting intro is a perfect example of OneRepublic’s fusing of genres. And “Good Life,” my favorite of the album, is that sunny yet mellow track that can definitely serve as the perfect summer song next year.
And if you get the album from Target, a bonus disc features “It’s a Shame,” a OneRepublic classic from back when they were still called Republic. Definitely one of their best tracks.
An excellent sophomore effort from OneRepublic.