Release Date: Nov 16, 2010
Record label: RCA
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Contemporary Singer/Songwriter, Pop Idol, Contemporary Pop/Rock
Lee DeWyze?s debut album Live It Up suffers from vague production that strips his Adam Duritz-y growl of all humor, anger, and sexuality. It?s also saddled with a batch of tunes that are so totally generic, the font color for this review should be beige. Only one song here, ”Me and My Jealousy,” truly showcases the coolly disaffected potential rock star who won what?s widely regarded as the weakest-ever season of American Idol.
Winner of the ninth season of American Idol, the season that will forever be remembered as Simon Cowell’s last, Lee DeWyze somehow eked out a victory against neo-hippie soulster Crystal Bowersox, charming with a smarmy shyness that never quite seemed to jibe with a guy who kicked around bars in the suburbs for the better part of a decade. Other Idol winners were journeymen in disguise -- think cornball Taylor Hicks or well-coifed rocker David Cook -- but DeWyze’s major-label debut, Live It Up, sounds like the work of a local band that was given a chance to run wild in a professional studio. 19 Recordings team their winner with an army of professionals led by Toby Gad and John Shanks but they don’t dictate the direction of the album; they shape DeWyze’s singsong strum-alongs and MOR pop into something resembling a triple-A chart hit, letting similarities to Jack Johnson, Jason Mraz, and John Mayer stand strong.
RIHANNA “Loud” (Def Jam) It’s back to business as usual — flirting, titillating, indulging, romancing — for Rihanna on her fifth album, “Loud.” She’s resuming her persona as the party girl with the glint of danger. Rihanna’s 2009 “Rated R,” on which she shared some songwriting credit, followed the domestic violence inflicted by Chris Brown with hefty, portentous songs that insisted on her toughness and pride. For most of “Loud” she keeps trauma at a distance.