By Kaitlyn McCurdy
Phillip Phillips won American Idol season eleven. Let’s be honest, the last majorly successful or remotely good Idol winner was Carrie Underwood. Lately, it seems like runner-ups or people in fifth place have more success than the actual winners. Idol isn’t exactly a competition anymore. With the release of Phillips’s album, he sets out to make himself a standout artist.
Well, we’ll see, but I do give him props for writing a majority of the album (nine of the twelve songs, in fact). That makes me happy.
The opening track “Man on the Moon,” is a pretty decent kick off. It’s decent, and Phillips croons “It’s hard to know where I stand / even a man on the moon couldn’t tell me where to land.” The track sets a nice tone for the album.
If you watched the Olympics, you definitely heard “Home.” It’s a great track with a foot-tapping worthy beat and fantastic lyrics. I constantly think of the Fab Five (Fierce Five?) whenever I hear it, though.
“Gone, Gone, Gone” is one of the songs that Phillips didn’t help write, but it’s a nice fit for his debut album. The arrangement is carefree and lighthearted, the lyrics are simple and pretty. It’s a great song, perfect for Phillips’s voice. One of my favorites.
“Hold On” is another song that really showcases Phillips’s voice. His range is impeccable as he sings lines like “they say you’ll find yourself one of these days / as if they know I’m lost and can never be saved.” It’s lovely, absolutely lovely.
As good as “Tell Me a Story” is (and it is good), I can’t help but wonder where the variation is. All of the songs up to this point just kind of blend together, with a little bit of difference with “Home.” “Tell Me a Story” is another great track, though. I’m just getting a little bored.
Not only is “Get Up Get Down” the halfway point of the album, it’s the variation I wanted. The song gradually builds until the chorus smacks you in the face with an uptempo beat. Lines like “yesterday was our time to turn back again / and instead we went through the fire to get lost in sin” also make this song stand out from the others thus far. It’s another fantastic track, and I’m excited for the rest of the album.
“Where We Came From” is a head bopper. Which is weird, I normally associate that with pop music, but there’s something about this arrangement that makes you want to move along to it in some way. The track also has one of my favorite lyrics from the album: “I connect the stars to build a map to you / in the empty space we’re dreaming / will we still know the truth.”
“Drive Me” starts off fast and never really loses that speed. It’s a dance worthy track, with a loud arrangement during the chorus and incredibly confident lyrics. Not too bad, random jazz influence kind of throws you off. Catchy, but not one of my favorites.
If you’re looking for an emotion filled track, listen to “Wanted Is Love.” It’s incredibly vulnerable, and Phillips’s voice is absolutely gorgeous. Possibly the strongest track on the album.
Drew Pearson and Greg Holden, the writers of “Home,” collaborated with Phillips to produce “Can’t Go Wrong.” Like “Home,” the track can easily become an anthem (especially with lyrics like “I want a chance to face my fear”). It’s a nice, upbeat song that you’ll sing in your head for a bit after hearing it. This track would no doubt be fun to see live.
I fell in love with “A Fool’s Dance” within the first verse. It’s completely captivating and absolutely beautiful. The track is one of the slower ones on the album, and it’s another one of my favorites. If you’re wondering if you’d like Phillips’s style, listen to “A Fool’s Dance.” Actually, just listen to it. Period.
The album ends with “So Easy,” a midtempo love song that ends the album brilliantly. Lyrics like “You’re the reason I believe in something I don’t know” and more will have girls swooning. It’s another favorite of mine, and the album couldn’t have ended better.
I didn’t know what to expect out of this album. I haven’t watched Idol in a long, long time, and I don’t really pay attention to the winners. I think the last time I really watched an entire season was when David Cook won. Phillips reminds me of Kris Allen, but there’s no doubt in my mind that he’ll surpass Allen success-wise. The album is a solid first effort, and I kind of love it. I’m anxious to hear more from Phillips, as he’ll definitely continue to grow as an artist.
For the first time in a while, I can actually say thank you to Idol and America for picking an extremely talented winner. Good on you.