Allison Iraheta was one of the runner up contestants on last season’s American Idol (2009). This young lady (she was only 10 in 2002 when American Idol premiered) brought a genuine rock edge to the show and it was sad to see her lose out to the likes of Adam Lambert (bizarre) and Kris Allen (yawn). Her debut CD “Just Like You” is out now. Sadly, I think a bona fide talent has largely been wasted, falling prey to the major label trend to bury everything under a wall of sound. The other major problem is the lackluster songs…you’d think with all the resources these corporations have they could afford something less bland. They seem to think that if you dress it up with strings or yet another layer of noise that it will somehow disguise the fact that the song was banal at the start.
They also don’t seem to know what to do with Iraheta. Is she going to do pop dance like Pink or the rock stuff that drew comparisons to Joan Jett and Pat Benatar? “Just Like You” does deliver on the rock stuff at times, but with an intense inorganic feel a la Kelly Clarkson or Avirl Lavigne. On the other hand, there is a lot of pop fluff the listener has to endure in-between the good songs.
The first two tracks are awful, which includes the schizophrenic single, “Friday I’ll Be Over U”. “Robot Love” is another electronic mess over top Gary Glitter‘s famous “Rock and Roll Part 1 (The Hey Song)”, overused at sporting events. The title track is a very good song, and is followed by the respectable “Don’t Waste The Pretty”, two tracks that begin to redeem the album. But then it steers down mediocre avenue once again for what seems like a torturous eternity until “Still Breathing”, where we can actually hear Iraheta‘s beautiful voice over some acoustic guitar for a little while before the ubiquitous distortion kicks into overdrive again. The trouble with “Trouble Is” – a fine example of what frustrates me about this record – is that it is a boring song to begin with that no amount of strings, vocals, or glossy production can hope to salvage. “No One Else” is much more compelling thanks to its memorable melody in the chorus. The album closes as badly as it began, with the ridiculous “Beat Me Up” – a horrible lyric set to a brain-numbing house beat and boring guitar riff, and aptly titled, “You Don’t Know Me”. I don’t feel like I got to know Iraeta on this record at all.
I sincerely hope Iraheta can rebound with a team that is better suited to let the majesty of her voice shine rather than burying it in senseless noise and wasting it on unexciting songs.
iPOD-worthy: 3, 4, 9, 11
Allison Iraheta on MySpace.