American Idol judge Randy Jackson has a lengthy resume as a musician and record producer, so it is no surprise that he would take advantage of his household name status to release an album. This set of songs showcases his eclectic experience and tastes as well as his ability to attract talented vocalists into the studio. Unfortunately, the recordings rarely seem to catch fire and what we are left with is professional music that, on most tracks, is forgettable and unlikely to make you want to hear it again.
Released March 2008 by Concord Music Group.
Vocal Talent Isn't Enough
Randy Jackson's Music Club abundantly proves that when it comes to providing quality entertainment, vocal talent simply isn't enough. This is the lesson learned each season on American Idol, but, unfortunately, it seems that Jackson didn't carry that lesson to the studio. Artists as wide-ranging as r&b vocalist Anthony Hamilton, idiosyncratic singer-songwriter Jason Mraz, and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member Sam Moore are muzzled by dull songs and sterile production. Even rapper Ghostface Killah sounds like he's held on a tight leash. The results are safe but far from stellar.
The Standout Gems
There are some quality moments here worthy of attention to cherry-picking downloaders of individual tracks. Even after multiple plays, Paula Abdul's comeback "Dance Like There's No Tomorrow" is fresh and energetic. Joss Stone's powerful presence overcomes a somewhat gimmicky interpolation of Dionne Warwick's classic "Walk On By." Former American Idol contestants Katharine McPhee and Elliott Yamin deliver cheerful, relaxed performances on the sweet pop of "Real Love," and the superstar gospel epic "I Understand" is probably the album's best single track.
Top Tracks from Randy Jackson's Music Club, Volume One
- Paula Abdul - Dance Like There's No Tomorrow
- Joss Stone - Walk On By
- Katharine McPhee & Elliott Yamin - Real Love
- Kim Burrell, Rance Allen, Bebe Winans, Mariah Carey, and Hezekiah Walker's Love Fellowship Tabernacle Church Choir - I Understand
Slick, Polished, But Ultimately a Bit Dull
Randy Jackson's Music Club, Volume One is just as polished and slick as American Idol. However, stripped of the drama of competition, the whole enterprise can't help but be a bit dull. Listeners are most likely to take away from this album the memory of a few revelatory moments. Those of us who remember the peak years of Paula Abdul's pop stardom will feel a bit nostalgic here. Katharine McPhee and Elliott Yamin are appealing when given the right material, and, for anyone who feared that Mariah Carey was losing her upper range, "I Understand" will ease your worries. Unfortunately, many of the songs will simply go by registering little impact leaving it difficult to recommend a purchase of the entire collection other than for those collecting Idol memorabilia.