Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Taylor Hicks vs: Daughtry

American Idol CD showdown

Okay, so I have now listened to both CDs a couple of times and have formulated opinions on both of the albums. So, this will basically be a short review of both.

The album is good. Really good. I'm not a big fan of the style of music here: cock rock as it is referred to. Basically, to me, this kind of music is a just a bunch of strong men, running around screaming about how bad life is and occasionally talking about love. Daughtry's album, lyrically is a little lighter than dark, but musically it falls into all the pratfalls of modern rock.

First off, every song, with the exception of 2 in the middle of the album, are basically the same tempo. For some reason, modern rock loves these mid-tempo ballads that happen to have huge guitars and a screaming vocal on it. I personally enjoy a little rhythmic variety, so for this fault, the album loses points in my book.

Lyrically, the album is actually pretty good. From what I understand, Chris is a Christian and grew up playing praise and worship music, though this album is far from that. I'm not sure if his lyrics reference any kind of relationship with Christ, but few of the lyrics are stupid or cheesy. Most of them are well-thought and well-written.

Overall, the album is a little plodding for me. It's 12 songs that runs under 50 minutes, which is a great for an album, but his guest stars (Slash, main example) and guest writers (Ace Young, Brent Smith, and more) fall a little short for me. What I can say is that the album is obviously music that Chris is passionate about. You can tell he loves the music that he is making, and that is more than could be said for Kelly, Clay and Bo's first albums. So, for straight passion, the album gains points in my book. But with that said, the album does fall short artistically in my mind.

I give the album a B (4.2 of 5)

Taylor Hicks
I have been wondering for a while how this album would turn out. I liked Taylor on the show but didn't love him. His little quirks got on my nerves after a while and I thought his voice was marginal in comparison to other contestants. But I knew that this CD could turn into a hit because of reports I was hearing. The record was produced Matt Serilictic, former president of Virgin Records and the producer of all the Matchbox20 and then the Rob Thomas solo record. Taylor was reported to have written songs with some top songwriters, like John Mayer. Rob Thomas wrote a song for the record. He was covering a Marvin Gaye album cut. Supposedly, the estate of Ray Charles gave him a ballad that Bryan Adams had written for Ray before the soul great passed away. I mean, a lot of things could make this album a hit. Plus, he did win American Idol.

I got the CD today and was, overall, blown away by the CD. It was better than I could have expected. From the opening song to the end of the Taylor Hicks original "Hell of a Day" (a bonus track from the Wal-Mart edition of the album), the album twisted and twitched and turned and made me a happy camper. The first song is a soul-funk groove that rocks. Next is the Thomas ballad, followed by a song that samples the wurlitzer riff from Charles' "What'd I Say".

From a musical standpoint, I was very, very pleased. The album covers a broad range of styles while still holding to a core sound. He goes into old-time soul, some funky soul, some 80's type pop/r&b...he has a Diane Warren ballad, a 6/8 ballad that's beautiful, and then his original songs come out of nowhere and blows the rest of the stuff away. His voice sounds great and he actually can sing! He makes each of these songs his own. My only beef with the album is that I hate brass and this album has a lot of brass. But that's a personal preference and the rest of it is good enough I can overlook the brass.

Lyrically, the album is strong. The writers that he chose can write well and he sings like he knows what he's talking about. There are a couple of lyrics that are a little over the top for my taste, but again, just preference here. the lyrics to the originals are simple, but they fit what is happening musically, so I can take them in stride.

To wrap it up, the album is a fun, twist and shout kind of record that will make you smile. You will listen to this CD all year and when summer comes it'll be a great summer CD to listen to while you roll down the road with your windows down.

I give the CD a flat A- (4.6 of 5)

So, once again, Taylor wins.

But will he win in the sales division? Well, we'll see.


BENandNIKKI said...

interesting. it's good to hear reviews from someone who actually knows music. we have friends here who bash Hicks' CD all the time and praise Daughtry's, but they don't know a lick about music. it's all about their personal preference of the artist...or rather, the person.

susieq3c said...

Thanks for the honest review that doesn't bash one guy or the other. I personally have not heard Daughtry's CD mainly because it's just not my taste in music so I can't comment.

But I love Taylor's CD and am blown away with the musical texture throughout.

And, if you can, please please please get two other CD's that are not mainstream. You need to hear Marc Broussard's Carencro and Jonny Lang's Turnaround. I think you'll enjoy...

bamaborntxbred said...

I appreciate someone that appreciates what I appreciate. That being said: I appreciate you.

Really, I'm a rock-chick at heart, but Chris is so Faux-Rock. He might as well call his band Creedleback! I think his voice is awesome...but I'm pretty sure I've heard all his songs before...just sung by different artists.

Taylor is kinda the love of my life, so I'm biased about his album/s.

Seriously, though, I think it's interesting that you prefer Taylor's album to what you saw live. As a card carrying Monkbot, I'd have to say that he's waaaaaay better live...maybe you've never seen him concert, and only on AI.

I'm assuming you'll make it all the way to Top 12 at AI (esp. if I have anything to do with it), so you prolly won't be able to see any of his shows this year. When you get the chance though, I think you'd enjoy him!

Fro Patro! Fro Patro!

Anonymous said...

So, what did you think of Elliott Yamin?
He was/is my favorite from AI5.

ChrisSligh said...

I should make it known that I really enjoy both of Chris & Taylor's albums a ton. They are both great albums...if anyone takes a look, I gave both of the albums very high scores. This is not an attempt to "pit" one idol against another.

As far as Elliot: I think Elliot is an incredible vocalist...it will be very interesting to see how his debut album does, and how his songwriting comes across. I'm actually looking forward to it.


bamaborntxbred said...

Just so's ya know...

I think your critiques of the albums are great. I just don't agree w/you about Chris' album/band and was commenting on that!! I think it's fine...but not fabulous.

Trust me, I know I'm biased towards Taylor and I know I might not have a clear, crititcal mind when it comes to him....but I have emotional reactions to/and for music/musicians. I "experience" music more than "listen" to it.

That's why I was stunned by your audition on AI. I was moved by the experience of it. Your passion was more powerful than the tone, pitch, phrasing, etc. of your singing. (Which was great too!)

That's all!

P.S. You better buckle-up. You are going to be massively popular. This "blog-time" will be a thing of the past!

ChrisSligh said...

Thanks, Bama. No harm, no foul.

I guess for me...I personally don't enjoy Chris's form of rock that much...you can probably tell from my music that I love rock, but mine is perhaps a little more progressive. But at the same time I TREMENDOUS amounts of respect for Daughtry. He is an amazing writer/musician and he deserves the sales #s he's getting. The album is a good album, but I tried to - in the review - to admit that I'm probably not the best judge of Daughtry's album since I don't really enjoy cock rock that much.

Anyway, to be honest, I have given Daughtry's album a LOT more spins than Taylor's...I think that maybe my intitial reaction to the albums has worn off and the albums are a lot closer in score in my mind now than I originally thought.


susieq3c said...

So, I repeat....pick up Marc Broussard's Carencro or Jonny Lang's Turnaround ( or both) Marc Broussards' album reminds me a lot (in structure) of Taylors. A lot of variety, some really mean funk, some great laid back stuff, and Marc is a tremendous vocalists.
Jonny is well, Jonny. Nothing short of a musical genius. His latest has a pretty spiritual bend. And somebody forgot to tell this kid that white boys can't sing like that...he virtually preach/sings his last song of the album.

Let me know what you think. If you can't grab the albums, then I recommend from MB's album "Home" and "Hope for me yet". From Jonny's "It's Not Over (def. not the Daughtry song) "Thankful" and "Last Goodbye".

Have fun!

ChrisSligh said...

I would definitely concur on the Broussard album...not familiar with the Johnny Lang, though I am familiar with his music in the past and it's pretty darn good.

I actually think Broussard's album is better than Taylor...mainly b/c Broussard has one of the best voices I have ever heard.


bamaborntxbred said...

Chris- Yer funny. You said "Cock Rock"! I would lump Nickleback, Creed and Hinder in that group. Blech. To me, I prefer the term "faux rock". It's just sooo...umm...appealing to the masses. Kinda like, mix a little of this, a little of that, put it through the "hit maker" machine and spit out an album that sells millions. That just seems to fly in the face of RAWK.

I tend to prefer old alternative (Nirvana, Pearl Jam) ( even the more industrial NIN) or the newer...glam-rock (The Killers). I'd say my current faves are: 30 Seconds To Mars, Rock Kills Kid and Blue October (I have been behind these guys for over a decade now...being that they are a TX band...I got to see them live hundreds of times. Justin Furstenfeld is an amazing song writer and has an inspiring back-story..and talk about passion!!)

...and of course my old school faves: Led Zeppelin, The Doors and Lynyrd Skynyrd!!

Have a lovely weekend!

SCDaughtryFan said...

I'm a HUGE Chris Daughtry fan (and fellow S. Carolinian), but I respect your opinion and honesty. I disagree with your comments on Chris' album, but I do wish you the best on AI. Represent SC well! PS the guy on WNOK in Columbia has been plugging you on the air a lot!

SCDaughtryFan said...

PS I just read your other comment about listening to Daughtry's album more. Cool! ;) I knew he'd win you over. (I do like Taylor live, just not his CD)

Faye said...

Thanks for the reviews - no fawning or bias that I detected. I think you were fair to both and gave solid reasons for your opinions instead of just love it/him or hate it/him.
Wanted to say I really enjoyed your AI performance.
Your personality made you standout in the middle of a lot of very forgettable auditions.
I suggest everyone check out your band's video on youtube - love the good music (rocks but no bleeding eardrums )and the good lyrics ( not surprised, wit usually requires intelligence ).
Anyway, I wanted to let you know that you already have people pulling for you.

Faye said...

Thanks for the reviews - no fawning or bias that I detected. I think you were fair to both and gave solid reasons for your opinions instead of just love it/him or hate it/him.
Wanted to say I really enjoyed your AI performance.
Your personality made you standout in the middle of a lot of very forgettable auditions.
I suggest everyone check out your band's video on youtube - love the good music (rocks but no bleeding eardrums )and the good lyrics ( not surprised, wit usually requires intelligence ).
Anyway, I wanted to let you know that you already have people pulling for you.

susieq3c said...

I have to agree, Chris. I am a huge Taylor Hicks fan, but I do enjoy MB's album more...and for the same reason you noted. Not to take anything away from Taylor at all because I think he's very talented and I love his stuff, esp. his live performances. Anyway, hope things are going well for you! Looking forward to next week.

Anonymous said...

looks like Daughtry is outselling Taylor two times over so far

Anonymous said...

Love your sense of humor but I have to let you know that you have garnered the anger of us Chris Daughtry fans through out the U.S. NONE of us will vote for you now but it won't matter for we Chris fans don't know how to vote any way. We just know how to buy CDs...LOL!

Good luck on the show!

baptistgirl said...

I agreed with your reviews totally. I have both CD's, but listen to Taylor's more. He comes alive with his music. I've seen him live on his solo tour - he is awesome. He isn't all goofy acting like he was on AI. Even though I LOVED him on AI - he did come across as a little strange sometimes.

BUT, Chris' album will outsell Taylor's by far - simply because of the genre -IMO. How many people out there truly love Taylor's style of music - not near as many that love the alt/Rock genre. Does that make Chris better? No!

Anonymous said...

Chris you should check out Taylor Hicks' previously self-produced albums, In Your Time and Under the Radar. They are available at http://lasersedgecd.com, the independent record store in Birmingham, AL that carries both his indie albums.

susan said...

I'm really, really late to your party here.
I was just directed to your blog yesterday and have been poking around a little bit.
I just read your review of the Daughtry and Taylor Hick's CDs.
I only wish that the music critics had given Taylor's CD the open-minded listen that you did. I have really enjoyed this CD, and it was refreshing to read your review.
Probably won't ever see this because it's such an old post, but I wanted to say it anyway.
I'll be reading your blog.
Good luck with your music. I'll stay tuned for that as well.