Sunday, 27 May 2012
Kris Allen - Thank You Camelia (Deluxe Version) --Review--
I'm going to echo my review of Adam Lambert's new album here a bit. While Kris's eponymous release was not a bad album, or even completely average (mostly thanks to the heart and soul he puts into his singing), there was definitely room for improvement (less intrusive production, more song-writing input from Kris).
Thank You Camelia is much more cohesive than Kris's first album, he's co-written all of the songs and a great majority of them is in an upbeat tempo - which was the biggest and nicest surprise for me. It's an ideal album for summer, still it has depth, heart and even a little bit of edge.
Kris is not someone who'd want to change the landscape of pop. His musicianship is not radical or revolutionary but he's improved as a songwriter in these past few years and the album definitely reflects that. All of the songs have hit potential, if given chance and the right promotion. Kris's song-writing and musicianship are actually quite timeless: his ability to capture audience with an acoustic performance harkens back to the art of medieval minstrels and such, the fact he plays the piano and guitar, arguably two of the most commonly played instruments of the past few centuries, is actually a plus. He is an every-man who can write catchy pop songs but who doesn't need any gimmicks to present them to people. And he has the ability to win over listeners who would not think they'd enjoy all this MOR singer-songwriter-y stuff. I'm a case in point, to a certain extent.
Thank You Camelia's first single (track no. 2 on the album) is The Vision of Love, a catchy upbeat song with lyrics that will actually make you think about your life and deeds.
I don't wanna run, I don't wanna hide
When someone needs somebody
I don't wanna say, I don't got the time
When someone needs somebody
I'd like to think this is the kind of song that might make a few people do something nice for someone, no preaching needed.
Other highlights on the upbeat front: the whistling My Weakness, and hip-hop-influenced Rooftops, which both should be singles. These two are insanely catchy and just really positive without ever sliding into cheesiness.
The album opener Better With You, piano and drums-driven Out Alive and Blindfolded (the latter featuring a very strong chorus), tender acoustic Teach Me How Love Goes (featured in my recent Top 5 Songs post) and Loves Me Not (a duet with female singer Meiko) are "growers" but all great pop songs.
The regular version of Thank You Camelia ends with an outstanding piano ballad called You Got A Way. It's almost as good as Haley Reinhart's Undone and I Need To Know, the closing track of Kris's eponymous album.
The only two songs that have yet not grown on me are Monster, an edgier mid-tempo weird animal of a pop-rock song (imagine Maroon 5 experiencing a PMS), and the second ballad on the album: Leave You Alone, which is sweet but not quite there.
The deluxe version features three more tracks: a very strong, upbeat Turn the Pages which would have been good enough for inclusion on the regular version; Fighters which has a memorable chorus but is as a whole a bit clichéd, which makes it an ideal bonus material. And finally there's a remix of The Vision of Love. Oh how I wish The Sound of Arrows did a remix of this song (check out their remix of Maroon 5's Payphone)....because Maison and Dragon Radio Remix definitely is not the shit.
All in all, a recommended (not only) summer listen. Give it a try even if you thing MOR singer-songwriter-y is not for you. Kris has a way of pleasantly surprising people if given the chance.