Possessing arguably the best male voice in American Idol history, season five’s third place contestant Elliott Yamin comes out firing on all cylinders, showing off that powerful voice the country came to love. Yamin proves he can do gospel and jazz just as well as contemporary R&B and traditional pop, all while sounding as if he is enjoying every second of his newfound stardom.
Doing It His Way
Somewhat surprisingly, it took Elliott Yamin much longer to find a record deal than fellow American Idol finalists Katharine McPhee and Taylor Hicks. Eventually Yamin signed with a small independent label, Hickory Records, giving him less immediate cash, but a great deal of musical freedom to make just the type of album he wants. Music fans should rejoice in this as Elliott Yamin has pieced together a set that is stylish and contemporary, yet never tries to sound like every other song on the radio.
He's a Soul Man
Elliott Yamin brings the heat from the start. The disc kicks off with jazzy lead single “Movin’ On” with the crooner showing off his vocal acrobatics, seamlessly bouncing from word-to-word and throwing down a very catchy chorus. “Train Wreck” is a solid old school soul throwback, while piano ballads “Wait For You” and “Your Are The One” keep production simple with Yamin’s sandpapery vocals at the forefront. It is clear that the newcomer has put his heart into the album as his passion for each lyric shines throughout.
Although Yamin’s vocal charisma is enough to carry most of the tunes on his debut, several tracks suffer from rather stale songwriting. This is especially evident on the socially conscious “Find A Way,” where his anti-war declaration is not likely to win anyone new over to the concept of world peace.
A Deserving Idol
Whether it is his transcendent vocal on the choir-backed “Free” or his show- stopping cover of Leon Russel’s “A Song For You,” Elliott Yamin proves on his debut album that he is one of the most talented recording artists American Idol has produced. The vocal hybrid of Donny Hathaway and a raspy Michael Buble, Yamin has created a disc that could put him in the early running as one of the year’s top new artists. Although he took third place in season 5 of America’s favorite talent show, he easily beats out those who placed above him for best first album.