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Album review: Kris Allen's debut

Kris_allen_jive_249 Kris Allen finished in first place on the most recent season of "American Idol," but did he really win? If this fresh-faced Arkansan had been cut from the show a few weeks earlier than he was, it's easy to imagine his post-"Idol" debut delighting his loyal fans, many of whom would've been perfectly happy with -- horror of horrors -- an entire album of Fray covers.

Instead, in an incident that might someday inspire a probing investigative report on VH1, Allen somehow earned more votes than Adam Lambert, the single most compelling contestant in "Idol's" eight-season history. So now Allen's album arrives freighted with expectations, very few of which it's in a position to meet.

Coming from an unknown singer-songwriter type, "Kris Allen" might get over on its earnest charm; as the major-label bow from one of America's highest-profile pop stars, it's a snooze and a half.

Not surprisingly, given the caliber of songwriters and producers the "Idol" franchise attracts, there are highlights: "Before We Come Undone" rides a zippy electro-rock groove by Greg Kurstin of the Bird and the Bee, while the Mike Elizondo-helmed "Can't Stay Away" throbs like a not-bad Maroon 5 outtake. Allen co-wrote "Alright With Me" with Joe King of the Fray, and, believe it or not, it's actually the liveliest thing here, an up-tempo acoustic shuffle with a sort of low-cal "Hey Ya!" vibe.

Most of the material, though, tends toward a flavorless pop-rock sound that doesn't even do much to flatter Allen's appealingly rumpled vocals. Maybe next time he'll adopt a pseudonym?

-- Mikael Wood

Kris Allen
"Kris Allen"
19/Jive
One and a half stars (Out of four)
 
Comments () | Archives (66)

Ouch. I do agree...Kris would have been better off had he not won. Being the guy with the undeserved(arguably) title is quite the burden to bare. There are high expectations placed on an AI winner and I don't think Kris has what it takes to meet them. I am betting on Adam to knock it out of the park next week.

Whoa, someone sounds bitter! Kris Allen's CD sounds gorgeous (listened to it on AOL Music - it is livestreaming there), cannot wait to get it in a few hours!

adam lambert is a rock god. oh heil lambert.

kris allen, lowly peasant.

latimes knows what's up. manbert or glambert mikael?

This isnt even worth commenting on. Youre obviously very bitter. Just cuz its not your cup of tea doesnt mean its not someone elses. Worse review Ive read yet-if you can even call it a review!

Yep. Not so credible....

Adam Lambert: 6 Exclusive Pics From the Studio
Sneak a peek at the ''American Idol'' fave as he records his debut album and tells us how it's going
By Mikael Wood | Oct 23, 2009

ADAM LAMBERT, IN THE STUDIO

Still can't believe Adam Lambert didn't win American Idol this year? The rhinestone cowboy himself has moved on. Here he is at work with producer Rob Cavallo on his debut album last week at L.A.'s historic Capitol Studios. ''I love the energy here,'' says Lambert.

Wow sorry you had to wake up to write this obnoxious review. This isn't a great album but it's a good one. And I'd rather listen to Kris's sweet voice than that other fellow who's getting all the media attention.

"Instead, in an incident that might someday inspire a probing investigative report on VH1, Allen somehow earned more votes than Adam Lambert, the single most compelling contestant in "Idol's" eight-season history." __Mikael Wood

Are you kidding me? After that opener, we're suppose to find this review credible?

"appealingly rumpled vocals" -- I'll give you a C for your earnest attempt at being creative. I was an English Major myself. I do, wholeheartedly, agree with appealing vocals. Score one for you.

Oh wow...this review isn't bias at all! Honestly, get over the results of the show and stop being butthurt over something that occurred SIX months ago. Just ridiculous.

Don't expect me to take you seriously as a general reviewer when you can't even look past the results of a reality show, in which winning isn't everything. What matters is what you do after Idol. Adam is getting what he hoped for, which is a record contract and so did Kris. These comparisons are getting old and tiresome just like reviewers like you.

What's even sadder is that I happen to love Adam as well, but the fact of the matter is, bringing up Adam's loss every time Kris is mentioned is inappropriate when this is supposed to be a review about KRIS ALLEN'S ALBUM.

Now, Album wise, I think it is just wonderful! He did what he could in such a limited amount of time. I'm still stunned at how amazing this Album turned out, and how he wrote/co-write 9 out the 13 tracks in such a hectic schedule. Kris is a very talented musician and song writer. I look forward to the world realizing his talent, even if it's going to take longer than I would have expected because of the overzealous butthurt fans…

I am glad he won. If he didn't he would have been out of the picture and forgotten by now. thank god he won.
I really hate 19 right now, they did't push hard and give him best collaborators. the people who worked with him are 90% nobodies in the music business. Instead the runner up got all the hottest hit makers in the business. How odd is this? isn't the winner supposed to get the best ones? or do the collaborators choose who they want to work with? I am confused here.could someone please explain how the Idol machine works?

I do understand now why there's war everywhere: People being bitter about their lives, unable to accept the harsh realities of life and not willing to move on! Kris is such a talented artist and he won the hearts of millions!!! The songs in the KRIS ALLEN album are just amazing.

wow! a lot of bitterness. Sorry but it takes away much objectivity.
'Can't stay away' and 'before we come undone' are also Kris co-write. Forgot to mention?
Anyway, I listened to the live stream and I just love the whole cd. Can't believe that such quality was achieved in such a short time.
my rating: easily 3 stars out of 4

Yep. Not very credible....

Adam Lambert: 6 Exclusive Pics From the Studio
Sneak a peek at the ''American Idol'' fave as he records his debut album and tells us how it's going
By Mikael Wood | Oct 23, 2009

ADAM LAMBERT, IN THE STUDIO

Still can't believe Adam Lambert didn't win American Idol this year? The rhinestone cowboy himself has moved on. Here he is at work with producer Rob Cavallo on his debut album last week at L.A.'s historic Capitol Studios. ''I love the energy here,'' says Lambert.

Dang, that's rough!! I haven't heard any of the songs and I do worry about Kris finding his groove, but he may come around and find himself a path. I will certainly give all the songs a listen and see if there are any I want to download.

Not bitter ICU, just honest.

I beg to disagree! Kris' new CD is VERY GOOD! There's not a song on it that doesn't connect! "I Need to Know" is one of the most emotional songs that I've heard lately. If you like loud electronics, this isn't for you..but if you just like to listen to soul-searching music, give Kris's CD a try!

Loved Kris's album!! You need to listen again. My favorites? Before We Come Undone, Bring It Back, Let It Rain, Red Guitar, etc.!!!

Go Kris!!

I think it's fine to be really critical of albums, and Kris's album -- as good an Idol debut as I personally think it is -- is not perfect. But I think bringing his fans into it so scornfully is unnecessary.

But mostly it's discouraging to see Kris's upset win over Adam dredged up *yet again* in this dismissive way. In actuality, Kris's win wasn't all *that* surprising a win if you were paying attention to what was happening on the actual show and not on magazine covers.

Totally disagree wth you -- this is a very good album that shows Kris' songwriting potential and vocals full of emotion.

Maybe you should go listen to it again -- and this time ignore the whole Idol thing, ok? Because Idol or no Idol, this is a major label debut. This is not someone who has been around for years. You act like because he won a reality tv show, he should be a fully formed artist with several albums behind him or something.

Noticed during Kris’ performance on the Tonight Show that he now controls singing with one sided corner of mouth smirk which was really disconcerting to look at. But I want to say, it’s still one of Kris’ downfall that he is not pleasing to look at when he sings because of his unattractive mouth. Also he needs to stop closing his eyes but should have rapport with his audience. Plus he needs to get some personality. It’s just non-existent. I like Kris as a person but to succeed, he’s got to bubble up to be interesting. You can just walk on by and not notice him.

I find this review unfair. "The single most compelling contestant in Idol's eight-season history" has already released two singles, both of which have flopped. The first single from Adam Lambert's album sold only 18,000 copies in its first week and failed to chart on Billboard, which makes it one of the weakest debuts in "in Idol's eight-season history." Kris, on the other hand, is doing just fine: his songs are gaining momentum.

the album is a solid effort filled to the brim with hits, from the undisputed winner of AI8. i guess most people do not agree with this reviewer, as the album is already at the top of the iTunes charts on the day of its release, as well as moving up the other sales and radio play charts.

congratulations Kris!

@ME
Adam Lambert Fan, go away!!!! Why waste your time blogging. It quite obvious that you did not hear the CD. I suggest you do listen to it. Put consideration that Kris Allen did not have a whole of time to perfect the selection. Not unlike Adam Lambert (because he was expected to win) that from the get go was so priviledged. During American Idol while still competing, was provided multiple professional songwriters to write songs for him. Adam Lambert has the upper hand. You Adam Lambert fans should think first before you open your mouth. Kris Allen deserve to win. I dont care whether you think Arkansas is behind it, but I am in the USA where a lot of people voted.

@Mikael: Not sure why I just wasted my time reading your write. F (Failed)

umm I don't even know he has a CD out... He's good looking though, that's all I care... Never care about his singing... Hopefully he will take off his shirt someday soon, that's hot!... oh wait, we're talking about music, oops!... Anyway, don't care about his CD and don't care about his music at all... But if he has a sex tape out, I will the first one to buy it!!!... as long as he's not singing, I'm OK with it...

its pretty obvious you're an adam fan and i bet you're happy to know that his two singles are not on the chart while kris' single (which was released a lot earlier) is still charting
adams first single charted at #50 on the first week then disappeared while his second single isn't even CHARTING! kris's songs are refreshing and REAL not all that autotune poppy crap you probably enjoy
it goes back to the days of REAL music not this crap thats played on the radio nowadays

lets hoping this bombs(which Im sure) and he goes away

 
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