‘Kris Allen’ | Kris Allen

| Cadenza Reporter

It’s not often that a complete unknown in January would be able to garner at least some majority of the nation’s support come May and become a superstar, but it does happen at least once a year during the season of “American Idol.” The winner this year, Kris Allen, was criticized a lot during this season’s finale for being too bland, too wholesome, too straight to be the country’s Idol. So he had a lot to prove in his self-titled debut album, which dropped yesterday. And he definitely does prove that point on this record.

On the show, Kris got by week after week, not always through sheer vocal ability but by the sincerity and commitment he had in choosing songs that complemented his abilities, and he does this once again here. He’s an acoustic rocker with a mellifluous voice, and these songs are just extraordinarily pleasant to listen to. The first single, “Live Like We’re Dying,” is an upbeat jam talking about how life should not be taken for granted, but it never comes off as preachy. Hey, if I became a household name in a matter of months, I’d be pretty happy about it too.

Some of the songs on the album are pleasant to hear. You cannot help but nod your head along to “Before We Come Down.” “Red Guitar” is the only song on the album that was written pre-”Idol,” but it sounds just as sophisticated as the rest. There’s a sense of joy in this song deriving from how much Kris loves this, even from when it was just a hobby and not a lifestyle.

If you can imagine the later N*Sync oeuvre combined with a bluesy vibe, you would get “Can’t Stay Away.” Here, Kris sings about the love of his life he can never get enough of, in a sweet but still slightly seductive way, and it really works.

Naturally, there are a couple of ballads on the record, and songs like “The Truth” and “Bring It Back,” featuring a background piano line as the main accompaniment, give Kris a vehicle to sing his heart out in a way you would expect The Fray to sound. “I Need to Know” is incredibly raw: His heart has just been broken, and this song is a beautiful expression of the pain he just cannot hold inside of him anymore.

“Is It Over” sums up Kris’ ride on “Idol” and makes it my personal favorite on the album. Kris does not have a huge range, and he knows that. This song places a nice melody over really awesome background music and inverts some of the notes so they sound so wrong but, at the same time, exactly perfect. Ultimately, Kris and the song build up into gorgeous crescendo, which is exactly how he was able to win “American Idol.”

“Kris Allen” is a great record, and it is definitely one I would recommend, even to the world’s biggest Glambert fan. Kris takes on an acoustic coffeehouse vibe, but really makes it his own and does so in an incredibly beautiful way.

Rating: 4/5
For fans of: Jack Johnson, The Fray
Tracks to download: ‘Is It Over’, ‘Live Like We’re Dying’, ‘Before We Come Undone’

  • Norma Desmond

    Kris Allen I love your new CD, Your a hit and always have been you cute adorable sweet heart. I love the new version of Heartless and I hope some one remixes it to an 8 minute new release to the clubs. I like all your new tracks so Thank You for giving all your fans your attention in your voice of your new songs.

    Now as for the Sparkle Cows who offer cutting praise remember they are crazy old hags who are delusional over you know who. Forgive them because they are really ill old ladies with no life. Why look at their writing, spamming your articles but for get them, they are nobodies.

    Love you Kris And Katy!

  • Laura M

    They revised the numbers, that’s why it’s not always good to go with predictions.

  • Archyfan

    Kris Allen was never critized for being too straight or too wholesome, it fact, he was complimented for those things and only criitzed-sometimes- for his singing.Mediocre.Bland.
    Kris is great, but so are the singers I hear at various malls-there is nothing special about his talent. It’s a dime a dozen. But he is adorable, and he is good enough and will do just fine. After all, he can write songs-that is where the money is, his singing is good enough, but what makes him guaranteed to be successful is he can play guitar, piano, write songs and he is a real delightful young man.

  • Chambers

    *Rolls Eyes* at the first response. #s have nothing to do with how good an album actually is.

    I love the album too! There’s maybe one song that’s just okay too but the rest of the album definitely makes up for it. My favorites are Can’t Stay Away, Bring It Back, and I Need to know at the moment.

  • mick

    Unfortunately for Kris based on 1st day sales he’s predicted to sell only between 75-80 thousand. I think thats the lowest yet for an AI winner. :(