Friday, August 04, 2006

They love you while you're out there painted gold

The Canadian megapost! All of Canadian Idol, in one entry. I should note, though, that my collection of Canadian Idol music is very spotty, so the songs here might not be the very best that artist has to offer, but just the best song I have of theirs; if there's an artist missing, chances are I just don't have their songs. Canadian Idol seems to launch an awful lot of albums, but there's no one who's totally captured me.

Ryan Malcolm won the first season of Canadian Idol and, from what I've heard, has the most consistently good album out of Canadian Idol finalists. His album, Home, is pop with a little bit of rock influence. He's now joined a band called Low Level Flight, which is still unsigned. (Thanks to Paul for enabling me to hear Ryan's music!)

Star Of All The Planets--Ryan's second single. Although his first entered the Canadian Singles Chart at #1, "Star Of All The Planets"'s highest placing was #79, which unfortunately probably sealed his fate as a solo artist. It's a good song, and I can see why they went for it as a single, but there are better songs on the album. The rock influence is more noticeable here, as it's more edgy and less acoustic.

Ride--I love the guitar riffs in this song, which is probably my main reason for including it. It's really not fair to limit Ryan to two songs here, since he gives me a lot more to choose from than a lot of the following contestants (though to be fair again, his is the only album I've heard in its entirety), and there are songs that are more about his voice and that are good, but even this song includes some interesting back and forth in tempos and styles (or range?).

Billy Klippert took third in the first season of Canadian Idol. Like Bo Bice or Constantine Maroulis, he had a reputation as a rocker (though I can't compare their performances, as I haven't seen his). His first single, "Levon," only reached #98 on the Canadian Singles Chart, but a different record label from Ryan Malcolm and different expectations enabled him to continue releasing singles; "Again" and "With You" came next. His self-titled album is definitely rock, but if you go in with that knowledge, some of it is good, maybe even catchy. As of May, he was to start recording a second album soon.

With You--Billy's second single. It's a ballad. I'm used to the infectious hooks of pop, so it doesn't stand out too much to me, although I do like the "I wanna be with you" part of the chorus.

Again (Remix)--this is labeled as a remix, but to me it just sounds like an acoustic version. Billy's record label chose to release this version to podcasters for guilt-free use in their podcasts, which shows several things: 1) Billy's career is not undergoing astronomical success, but 2) his record label doesn't expect him to get a top five hit with every single, which is pretty different from the pressure most Idols are under, and are willing to promote him through more independent routes, and 3) if you didn't know anything about Billy's background, you would never guess he was on an Idol show--this would fit in perfectly with the sort of unsigned or minor label rock podcasters are so fond of using as interludes. Does Billy prove Idol can produce successful artists with a variety of styles? Not necessarily--Billy's career hasn't "taken off" by normal standards--but it does show that Idol can be used by artists to vastly increase their popularity beyond what it would be if they were just appearing on a podcast or two. But back to the song: it is sort of catchy, and I don't mind it being acoustic; it almost emphasizes the catchiness of it by taking away some of the overbearing guitars.

Kalan Porter won the second season of Canadian Idol, which really didn't surprise anyone; he was never in the bottom two throughout the entire competition. He's released one album, 219 Days, so far, and, last I heard, was due to release another album sometime this year. I think his current album might be better than these two tracks make it seem.

Awake In A Dream--Kalan's first single. I can't seem to reconcile his voice with his image (and that's really true for the next song); he sounds much older than he looks. It's a generic power ballad that I'm not particularly fond of, but I included it to contrast with the next track and prove that Kalan's album (which I don't own any of beyond these two tracks) is not like what one might think if one just heard the next song.

Single--in all honesty, the first time I heard this song and saw the video, I was a little scared. It's a very harsh, aggressive, dark-sounding song. Getting scared was probably an overreaction (perhaps caused by the discongruity between Kalan's appearance and voice). Despite that harsh, sort of aggressive sound, though, this song feels like it's missing a little extra kick that would make it fun. It's laid-back aggressive, stalking around instead of actually attacking, if that makes any sense. I still don't like it a lot, but I listen to it more than I expect to. There's a remix floating around (the Original 3 Radio Mix) that seems like it might significantly improve the song, but that's only based on the thirty seconds I've heard of it.

Are you all ready for an "Awww" moment? Melissa O'Neil won the third season of Canadian Idol and Rex Goudie came in second, but, after the competition ended, they revealed that they'd been dating since the third week. They're still together and even toured together (and had their own television special)!

Melissa has released her self-titled first album and her singles performances have bounced around (#1, #68, #31), but the fact that her third single did better than her second is a positive sign. In almost any discussion, Melissa is compared to Kelly Clarkson, Hilary Duff, or both, and she definitely is into the pop-with-guitars-and-shouty-choruses thing, but that in and of itself is no bad thing. The songs of hers that I've heard are enough to make me want to hear the rest of the album.

Let It Go--a horrible low quality version of Melissa's second single; I'm sorry about that, but it's the only version I have. It probably won't beat out Kelly Clarkson for shear infectiousness, and it doesn't have quite the same power as Kelly's songs, but all girl pop-rock does not have to sound like Kelly Clarkson; Melissa, despite her song's guitars, leans a little more towards the pop side than Kelly does. That said, I still think I prefer "Since U Been Gone" or "Behind These Hazel Eyes" to "Let It Go," but that's not because Melissa is a bad Kelly knockoff; she's not--she's just doing a different type of pop with guitars.

Speechless--Melissa's third single, and I'm not sure why it did so much better than "Let It Go," which I prefer. It's slower tempo, though it, too, has the shouty choruses.

Rex Goudie has released one album, Under The Lights, and, though it didn't have as much commercial success as Melissa's, it was more critically well-received. Not that commercial success or critical acclaim necessarily mean anything, though.

Run--Melissa's songs have prominent guitar parts, but Rex's songs are pop-rock that lean more towards the rock side of things, and might even just be rock. This was Rex's first single and it's nothing too exciting. I don't know, maybe I just tend to like my pop-rock with a little more exuberance or something; I don't think I'm the best person to judge this song, since it's mainly my bias towards a different type of pop-rock that keeps me from really liking it. So, if rocky pop-rock is your thing, take a listen.

Lie Awake--Rex's second single, and I much prefer it to "Run." It's less shouty, though it has its shouting parts. It's the little background elements that help keep this song different, preventing it from being completely generic. It's still not hugely exciting, but it's OK. Maybe I just like it more than "Run" because it's faster.

Links for buying these songs: Ryan Malcolm, physical or digital (you'll have to search for him); Billy Klippert, physical or digital (digital site only valid for US residents); Kalan Porter, physical or digital (you'll have to search for him); Melissa O'Neil, physical or digital (you'll have to search for her); and Rex Goudie, physical or digital (you'll have to search for him). There are also a lot of other Canadian Idol contestants with CD's out there, if you're interested.

Next up: wow, that was a lot to read (and as time passes, it keeps getting longer)...I might post something non-Idol related tomorrow, or do a couple of Idol leftovers, but if I don't, tomorrow will be the last day of the Idol special! Sad, right? But I've saved someone really good (well, I think so...but, given who was popular in the past, I don't expect a lot of enthusiasm for him) for last.


Paul said...

winner of best hair - rex

winner of best song westlife never recorded - ryan malcolm with you made this fool become a man...

Poster Girl said...

Ryan Malcolm may have to make a reappearance at this blog some day--he has too much good stuff for it to be ignored. I was sad to see that his new band is disavowing pop, though...hopefully, that's just in name; I like his first CD's style, I don't want him to go totally angsty or screechy or anything...or at least it'll be good, whatever it is.

And I'd have to agree with you on the hair point :) See, rockers can care about their appearance! Gives me hope for the genre.

Paul said...

will you be getting round to doing some posts about La Sneddon?? Fame Academy was just pop idol with some writing involved!!

ps - you would probably love the car crash tv that is How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria...

Poster Girl said...

I was thinking about doing a mini-Fame Academy'd be a lot shorter than the Idol one, but there are a couple of Academy grads I quite like. I've heard of David Sneddon, but never listened to him--would you say his CD is worth buying, then? Or just the singles?

And I just looked up the Maria show--oh, wow, who comes up with this? Simultaneously completely ridiculous and brilliant! With that and Totally Boyband, I am totally envying the UK reality singing scene right now.