Sunday, August 06, 2006

I have broken my wings flying for you

If I was to make a list, in no particular order, of my favorite Idols, it would probably look like this (Kelly Clarkson should probably be on it, but constant exposure to her here in the U.S. means that I don't get as hugely excited about her anymore): the amazing top 3 from the first Pop Idol, Will Young, Gareth Gates, and Darius; Clay Aiken; Anthony Callea; and today's artist, Heinz Winckler. For someone whose music I love so much, I don't know that much about Heinz. He won the first season of Idols in South Africa and at some point attempted to launch a career in Europe, though, since I can't find any information about the results of that attempt, it can't have gone well. I think I remember reading somewhere that he got engaged recently. He's released two albums so far and was also featured on the South African version of the Treasure Planet soundtrack (with "Chasing Shadows," which, based on this really low-quality clip, sounds very pretty). There's a really noticeable change between the two albums. The first, One Step Closer, is happier, more of an instant pleasure; the second, Come Alive, is not as happy and has more minimal backing instrumentation, but it truly is gorgeous.

Once In A Lifetime--Heinz's debut single. It's a mid-tempo pop song, sort of boppy, and very happy sounding; it's not a power ballad, unlike most Idol winner debuts. It's sort of on the cheesy side, but then, I love my cheesy pop.

Angel--the best ballad from Heinz's first album. It's an atypical ballad for an Idol singer as, once again, it's not a power ballad. It's beautiful and incredibly sad and delicate-sounding. I can't help feeling like it's part of a story and wanting to more about what happened and what's going to happen next. The backing accompaniment is pretty minimal; I imagine it sounds amazing live.

Never Got Over You--Moving back towards happier-sounding songs, this is another mid-tempo affair with some priceless "oooo-oooo-oooo"'s. Yes, it's about wanting back someone who's no longer with you, but there's hope in "Never Got Over You," which prevents it from sounding sad.

Drowning Me--this is from Heinz's second album, the style of which "Angel" seems to have been hinting at, though this song is more melodic. It's a ballad, I guess, also with minimal instrumentation. The chorus here is the best part--it's got some interesting note changes--along with the quiet "waves crashing over me"'s. It's unusual-sounding at those points, but in the best possible way.

Thank You--also from Heinz's second album. It's more mid-tempo, but it doesn't have the bouncy, happy energy of his first album's songs. This song is also unusual sounding, especially in the chorus. Heinz's style really is unusual for an Idol contestant; I know I've said that a lot, but each song reminds me of it. The change-ups in notes and the style overall is unusual, not typical pop, and the surprising minimalism works really well. That's true for all of Come Alive--the album almost remind me of what one might expect at a live performance, but I love it. The chorus of "Thank You," like in "Drowning Me," is what really makes the song.

"Another Day," the lead single from Heinz's third album, Moment Of Truth (to be released in late August, last I heard, though it might have gotten pushed back), is on the radio right now; you can listen to it at this MySpace page (I'm not sure if it's his official one or not, but it does have the song). He's apparently gone in the pop-rock direction, or at least added more guitars. I do like the new song, though it's not about to become my favorite song of his anytime soon (I think I may sort of miss his old sound, but I'll wait to hear the whole album before truly judging).

I really can't say enough good things about Heinz; the songs I've presented here can't really give you a full appreciation for him. I wouldn't say he's one of the artists whose whole CD you have to listen to to fully appreciate it, but, to really understand how amazing he is, I think you probably need to hear at least five songs off of each of his, he'll probably be reappearing at some point in this blog. In fact, I'm already planning on using him at some point for a sort of "versus" feature that I'm tentatively planning, comparing the same song sung by two different artists; I just recently discovered that the fun "Someday, Someway" from his first album (which I was considering using for this post) is actually a cover of a Marshall Crenshaw song (I know, it takes me a while to realize these things; I don't know my pop history very well).

To buy Heinz Winckler's first album, One Step Closer, go here; for his second album, Come Alive, you can go here. I really, really recommend them.

Next up: moving beyond Idol, probably a bit of early 2000's pop, focused around one (famous) singer but not intended to be comprehensive about her.


Paul said...

ah the winck caught my eye (not literally) during the debacle that was world idol. i had lots of clever things to write about it but the people in the apartment below have just had a baby and are doing my head in with its constant screaming so i will post more thoughts later ;)

Poster Girl said...

I didn't watch World Idol--can you believe it? Practically heresy for me! So I'm sort of glad to hear it didn't go so well.

Hope you feel better soon--sick and screaming babies, what a bad combination.