With 11 different producers for 13 tracks, you’d think 17-year-old Allison Iraheta would need a miracle to create a cohesive debut disc with Just Like You. But nope, the muscular, instantly recognizable growl that carried her to a fourth-place finish on American Idol‘s eighth season is all she needs to seamlessly wed a collection of first-rate ditties, from the relentlessly propulsive ”Holiday” to the ’80s-influenced ”D Is for Dangerous” to the soaring ”Don’t Waste the Pretty.” Meanwhile, ballads like the understated ”Scars” and the bluesy ”Trouble Is” separate Iraheta from questionably abled Miley/Selena contemporaries. Girl.
The spunky kid sister to Kris Allen and Adam Lambert on season eight of American Idol, Allison Iraheta was the bridge between Allen’s sweet, sincere balladeering and Lambert’s arch camp, stretching over Danny Gokey’s lukewarm water. She still had some of Adam’s spice but could be packaged like Kris, not unlike her clear forebear Kelly Clarkson, who proved that sass could be bottled and sold. Just Like You is cut from the same cloth as Clarkson’s “Since U Been Gone” mode, all walls of guitars and huge Max Martin-styled hooks, some of which are indeed written by Martin himself, including the album’s standout, “Friday I’ll Be Over U.
CHRIS BROWN"Graffiti" (Jive) There it is, reasonably well hidden, 3 minutes 38 seconds into “Lucky Me,” the 11th of 13 tracks on “Graffiti,” the third album by Chris Brown: the moment of contrition. Up through that point he tried out some other strategies for publicly facing his tarnished reputation following his assault of Rihanna, then his girlfriend, in February. There’s evasion, masked indignation and, in a couple of places, pleading.