I am not particularly fond of the whole idols franchise. The shows themselves have produced some incredible moments I’ll admit, but I can honestly say that there hasn’t been an idols winner that has caught my attention with their debut albums after their “crowning”.
The debut album from the American Season 11 winner Phillip Phillips has really caught me by surprise! Yes, I’m a year late, as the release date was November 2012, but I guess the law of averages dictates that sooner or later someone would emerge from the growing pool of Idols winners who has a sound that appeals to my particular tastes.
“The world from the side of the moon” (a title which is frustratingly difficult to remember), opens with the track “Man on the moon” and its’ particularly pleasing rising bass line against a droning third on the synthesizer. Immediately, his Dave Matthews influence is glaringly apparent. The tone of his voice is almost a carbon copy of Dave in his younger years, but somehow Phillips has managed to pull together a sound that makes his music easily identifiable.
“Home” is his debut single and coronation song. The open strumming and deep repetitive beat is reminiscent of Paul McCartney’s Mull of Kintyre. The lyrics strike a chord with me. I’m always moved by thoughts of home, and the patriotic beat and catchy chorus line really stirs up my desires to make a ‘home’, in all senses of the word, for my own family.
The warm fuzzy feeling carry’s through to the next track, “Gone gone gone”. I’m pretty sure most people that have listened to this track will agree that they can relate to the atmosphere that is created with the quick tempo and endearing words. Perhaps that’s the best way to describe his music; familiar. One can draw comparisons to his or her own life in so much of what he has to say. Still, its fresh and the kid has some decent skills with a guitar.
I will be honest though, the rest of the album seemed to fade into one long song. Vocally, Phillips is not very diverse. His gruff (but rather pleasing) tone carry’s through all of the tracks with only the accompaniment offering any sort of change in sound. He doesn’t quite have the vocal range that you need to really make an impact in this industry. I honestly hope he can pull something out the bag for his follow up album. It will be a great pity to see this artist fade into obscurity like so many of his predecessors.
Overall, I really enjoyed the album. I would definitely pay to see a live concert. His music lends itself to the live stage, and a live performance would probably put the music in a very different light. Sometimes you just need to be in a crowd of fans feeding off the energy coming from the stage and giving that energy right back before you can really appreciate the love that goes into writing music.
3 December 2013