Thursday, July 13, 2006

I'm just a girl, get used to it

To be honest, I'm not really excited about either of today's Idol finalists, but the songs are all right, I suppose (with a ringing endorsement like that, how can you not want to continue reading?). Up first is Diana DeGarmo, runnerup (to Fantasia) during Season 3. Diana was pretty young during the competition--16, I think--and I was never that impressed with her during it; after LaToya was voted off, my interest in the season declined a lot. Diana's first album, Blue Skies, did pleasantly surprise me, but only by being all right. She seems like a nice girl, and I think she can sing, but she does tend to turn her songs into big, melodramatic productions. Case in point...

Emotional--This song was the first to jump out at me when I listened to the album, and it's probably the catchiest song Diana has. After a few listens, though, I realized that, though it's sort of catchy, it's also sort of depressing, and I've yet to figure out quite the proper mood to listen to it in. It's got the big, voice-showing-off crescendos typical of Idol, but is more midtempo than it is a ballad.

Cardboard Castles--not my favorite Diana song (that would probably still be Emotional, as perplexed as I am by that song), but it does seem to get more approval from those knowledgeable about pop, so here it is. It's more sophisticated than Emotional (lyrically and music-wise), and, though it still has dramatic, showing-off-the-voice parts, they aren't quite as over the top, and Diana allows herself to sing quietly in some places.

Carrie Underwood won the fourth season of American Idol after a battle between pseudo-rock (Bo Bice) and pseudo-country (Carrie). Whether it was Carrie's sweetness, looks, or voice (or maybe all three) that resulted in her win, I'm not sure. I haven't listened to her whole CD, so she might have some hidden gems on it; however, I think it might be a bit too country for me.

Some Hearts--I do enjoy country-pop now and then (blame my family for exposing me to Faith Hill and Shania Twain), and, if you don't mid a bit of country influencing what really is a pop song, Some Hearts is pretty good. Some of the backing effects (though not Carrie's voice and certainly not the chorus), especially at the beginning, remind me of Kimberley Locke's 8th World Wonder. I think it could be a little catchier than it is (though I don't know what they could have done), but it's probably my favorite of today's songs; nice, mid-tempo, with, of course, the typical lowerkey (in sound) verses and "let's-show-off-the-voice-a-little-more" chorus.

To buy Diana DeGarmo's CD, Blue Skies, you can go here (hard copy) or here (digital); to buy Carrie Underwood's CD, Some Hearts, you can go here (hard copy) or here (digital). The digital shops aren't direct links to that artist; you'll have to search for the artist's name.

Next up: we'll continue our westward and southward movement by heading to Australia.


Paul said...

michelle mcmanus did emotional first - diana's version is a lazy production, its exactly the same backing track with diana's vocal on the top. DD was the last idol i really cared about - i loved Don't Cry Out Loud and she also did some great songs on her first album that were not really represented by the singles. Have you heard Reaching For Heaven from some soundtrack? Great tune...

Poster Girl said...

There's so much Idol trading going on, but you'd think they would at least alter the backing track (unless Michelle and Diana's voices are exactly the same, which I really doubt)! I hadn't heard about Reaching for Heaven, and I haven't heard more than the 30 seconds I can preview on iTunes, but maybe I'll have to go track it down. I bet Broadway really suits her voice, but it's good to hear she's still releasing songs, even if on soundtracks.

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