American Idol’s season-five songstress Katharine McPhee shows off her beautiful, classically trained voice while dabbling in several different genres on her lead album. Unfortunately, as has been the case with many young Idol debuts, McPhee has yet to truly find her voice and delivers one very hot mess.
We’ve Heard It All Before
As an album, Katharine McPhee’s debut is closest to that of fellow Idol contestant Kelly Clarkson. Clarkson’s pre-Breakaway music consisted of love ballads, upbeat R&B, and bubblegum pop. It wasn’t until after Clarkson was able to shed the outside influences that she developed her own musical style. Similarly, McPhee seems to be experimenting, as we hear just as much r&b and soul as we do pop and rock, along with the lyrical content to match each. Unfortunately, this makes for a disappointing disc of current clichés and color-by-number production/songwriting that is very short on catchy hooks.
Something For Everyone
McPhee’s eclectic debut opens with “Love Story” and “Over It,” two very fun pop songs one would expect to hear from McPhee. The lead single “Over It” is by far the best song on the disc as Katharine gently sings of a relationship she has all but forgotten. These are followed by “Open Toes,” McPhee’s over-the-top ode to shoes in which the singer makes it sound like high heels are more of a necessity than oxygen.
“Home” plays like a remake of Christina Aguilera’s “Beautiful,” but McPhee sounds rather unconvincing and devoid of passion. In contrast, the ballad “Ordinary World” perfectly showcases the singer’s smooth voice and reminds us why she was an Idol favorite. It is a shame the set closes on such a negative note as McPhee tries to go hip-hop with “Do What You Do,” an embarrassing attempt at a club banger, before the album concludes with ballad filler.
Only The Beginning
Nearly every lead album from an American Idol finalist has been far weaker than their second or third offerings. Katharine McPhee seems to be one of the most promising talents the show has delivered. Just like fellow starlet Kelly Clarkson, McPhee has not delivered the strongest debut album, but she has everything it takes to become a post-Idol pop diva.