« Previous Post | Pop & Hiss Home | Next Post »

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"
One and a half stars (Out of four)
Comments () | Archives (66)

The LA Times used to be a credible paper with amazing writing and reliable news stories and critiques. What a shame that in cost cutting measures they've turned it over to bloggers of more than dubious distinction - you have a computer and an internet connection? You're in!

This debut album from Kris Allen is solid from start to finish. Strong song writing, strong vocals and musical arrangements. Kris Allen connects and brings you into his world.

If you're into heavily auto-tuned electro pop club music, this isn't for you. If you're into classic singer-songwriter tunes that tell a story and bring out emotions in you, this is for you.

It's really a shame that there are so many sour media types who are intent on destroying a promising career just because it doesn't fit their agenda.

I think Kris Allen has a great album. I'd buy it.

I agree, youre obvisouly a Lambert fan, and very few Lambert fans have accepted Kris as the champion. The album is catchy and everything i expected from Kris, and really, it sounds pretty good. People have to accept Kris as the winner and stop giving him a hard time! Album 4/5.

Get over it people!!! Adam did not win...its done and over move the hell on!!!!! Quit saying "OH ADAM WAS SUPPOSED TO WIN!" I look @ it this way....everything happens for a reason..if he was SUPPOSED to win..he would've!!!! Why can't people give Kris any damn credit!!! I'm so annoyed with all this press on Adam!!! I will admit..Adam is great...its just not my type of music...you don't see me saying " GOSH ADAM should have got third place do you?? If you don't like Kris..shut up about it..go write about it on a Adam fan club board or something..sick of the bitterness about Kris..he is damn good..you guys are all just still angry that Adam didn't win...like it said before..GET OVER IT!!!

Wow, this review seems a bit bias...don't you think? Go Kris, great voice, great first album...flaws: Yes, but still a great first!

Kris seems like a nice guy. However, this CD is just boring. I don't get the hip hop vocal vibe on "live like were dying" this is not who is and while is does sound sorta cool it still had me thinking would he have recorded it this way on his own? Meaning, the producers are the real stars here and not Kris. Good luck next time.

Sad isn't it? Another flop from an American Idol winner/contestants. Remember the forgetables like Taylor Hicks, Blake Lewis , Justin Guarini and David Cook. He is no Carrie Underwood, Jordan Sparks, Chris Daughtry or Kelly Clarkson. The album is simply monotonous and a bore. The first 3 tracks are OK, then it goes downhill after that. The only saver at the end is the cover Kanye West's Heartless. Boring. I should have waited another 6 months to pick this up at the budget bin.

Your bias is showing big time. Have you ever heard of objectivity? You might not like the guy because you think he won unfairly, but you have to admit he did a decent job for his first album.

But don't take my word for it, check out other people's reviews. No one else has given him less than two stars (except you).

Nothing wrong with Kris Allen. Average isn't "bad". It's, well, "average".

Okay this is the worst review i've ever seen, not only are you already biast against him because there was some controversy about how he won, which I agree there was some, but then you BARELY even mentioned the music! Holy S**t I could have written a better review than this and I'm fourteen, and I havn't even heard the album yet! And everyone else on this site needs to quit bitching about Adam, they are both extremely talented with completely different styles, LET IT GO.

I have both albums and hate most of Lamberts but I absolutly LOVE Kris's album and I listen to all kinds of music.

You know, not all of us appreciate the screechings of a feminine appearing man, some of us enjoy the more simple, down to earth music, why is it hollywood types can't wrap their minds around this concept, we are not all lovers of all things flambouant

This is NOT a review. Did you even take time to listen to the album? It is actually really good.

I live in NY and read LA Times everyday....bc I enjoy the writing but this is really disappointing. Good writing should bring out the facts and a discussion with the readers. This is a persuasive (distasteful) piece of writing.

Just look at all 62 comments...most of them are discussing the writer...not the album (the subject of the piece).

Your review? Whatever. As a total Glambert fan, it is Adam's album that's an utter disappointment. Kris Allen's record is fabulous. Yes, I was surprised at how good it is, as I was skeptical. I'm a total Kris Allen convert and look forward to listening to Kris for years to come.

I like him, his voice is sweet and strong, his songs are awesome!!

: (
Sad that Kris is getting all this junk from people. Adam did not impress me. He is talented, but his style is not my cup of tea. Kris seems like a great guy and will have success in his own way... despite how backwards the media rate success.

« | 1 2 3


Recommended on Facebook

In Case You Missed It...


Recent Posts

Tweets and retweets from L.A. Times staff writers.



Get Alerts on Your Mobile Phone

Sign me up for the following lists: