Saturday, April 21, 2007

It's driving me crazy trying to second-guess you

Sigh...I had heard clips and a live performance of Dean's (previous posts here and here; he's a born-in-South-Africa, now-Australia-residing, former-Idol-contestant singer) lead single "If You Don't Mean It" and I was prepared to be totally scathing about it, or at least brush it off, point out that even Millsy managed to get someone to give him a better lead single (I do very much like "Miss Vanity," I have to admit)...but, after hearing the whole studio version, I can't. I like it. There are so many reasons I shouldn't, and a lot of people won't--heck, it's pratically only a shouty voice away from being a Daughtry song, you wouldn't be surprised to hear him say in an interview that he grew up listening to Bon Jovi and the Goo Goo Dolls (I do like some songs by those groups, though), and I imagine many people are going to be using the words "dull" and "generic"--but I do. I do have to throw in a comment about his official website, though: while no one could be bothered to put anything in the "Music" section--it says "Coming Soon"--or even mention the single's release date on the front page of the news section (you have to go into "read more"), the "Photos" section is already up and running. Does that say something about the behind-the-scenes thought processes about his music career?

(Edit: sigh again...please ignore any snarkiness! Not the sort of thing I like to do, and it's undeserved, but I'm too tired at the moment to go back and edit things. Basically, good song...and that's all that matters.)

If You Don't Mean It--I don't really know how to describe this's one of those sort of ballads, sort of mid-tempo pop-rock songs, but not pop-rock from the fun Busted and McFly schools. We're getting dangerously close to the whole earnest boy with guitar phenomenon that I'm not so fond of and yet this song works for me. Dean does have a good voice, at least in studio, for songs of this style--I'm not actually talking about reality or technique here, but the way it sounds is smooth and strong, which I think helps this song manage to balance precariously in the acceptable middle ground of this sort of music, with shouty gruff voices (say, Nickelback) on one side and that kind of whispering, intimate voice (say, John Mayer) on the other--by avoiding either of those dangerous styles, Dean's able to get away with a song that could easily be reworked into something I'd have no patience for whatsoever. It doesn't have the sense of fun that something like "Addicted To You" or even "Elevator Love" had, but I guess every now and then you just need a little earnest pop-rock balladeering.

Supposedly the single is out May 5, but I don't know if you can preorder it anywhere yet; however, when it is out, you'll be able to buy it from here (physical). This song will only be up for download for a few days, since the single's not actually out yet.

WAIT! Stop the presses! I was just about to publish this post when I found out one (there are many) of the people he'd worked with on the album: Daniel Jones out of Savage Garden! Suddenly, my interest in the album has just increased an awful lot, even if in all likelihood it was just on one song or something. Dean then went on--and keep in mind, earlier in the interview, he'd said he grew up listening to Bon Jovi and the Goo Goo Dolls--to list other people he'd worked with, and the examples of the acts they'd worked with included the Veronicas, Nick Lachey, Jessica Simpson, and the Backstreet Boys. Do we have a closet pop fan on our hands? They ask him what the album is like, and he says "It's pop"--but then, after a beat, rushes to follow that up with "rock-pop" and "with an edge," but I think he's less "edgy" than his image...not that that will necessarily manifest itself in the music, but it's worth checking out, anyway. And! And! And! "If You Don't Mean It" is, according to Dean, written by a Swedish writer who's name he can't remember...I could start throwing out some guesses, but I won't, in case I'm wrong; I'll just say that suddenly my enjoyment of this song may be starting to make a lot more sense. I'd bet we'll be seeing a familiar name in the writing credits for this song.

Next up: I'm not sure...possibly something teen pop-ish.

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