Album review: Katharine McPhee - Katharine McPhee

Album review: Katharine McPhee - Katharine McPhee
Runner-up to American Idol season 5 winner Taylor Hicks snapped up a record deal fresh from getting the boot off of the show and recorded and released an album just as quick. So how exactly does her album fare?

First off I'll start by saying her album is much better than Taylor Hicks' snoozefest. And also by saying that many of McPhee's fans may be displeased with her debut, as it goes in favour of a more radio friendly and R&B style with very little hint of the girl many voted through to the finals of American idol. Her record label have put together an album which feels very dichotomy: 50% great, radio friendly Pop and R&B and 50% sappy, forgettable ballads. No doubt this was a ploy to keep fans of the show happy and not ditch the 'American Idol Katharine' altogether, but it feels so contrived that it doesn't really work. You've got full on urban cuts such as "Open toes" (Yes, the song is about open toe shoes) alongside slow boring wrecks of tracks like "Home". The comparison is to far too stark.

Katharine has a good voice, this goes without question. But it is never really put to great effect. Many of the songs have her adopting a soft coo and light singing style, with her never really letting go vocally. As a result this can leave some songs feeling a little empty as there tends to be build ups to nothing. Also, many of the backing vocals aren't done by Katharine herself which is glaringly evident on songs such as "Dangerous", where the chorus and every single ad-lib is sung by a group of miscellaneous vocalists. This gives the feeling that Katharine never truly owns the songs. It's a real shame, because on the songs "Open toes", "Each other" and "Neglected" she really shines.

Katharine McPhee's album overall is good, but it is void of personality and charisma. The album seems to be a perception of who other producers and higher up's think she should be, rather than a true reflection of who Katharine truly is. And because she never seems to put 100% into either of the two sides the album plays, it's hard to tell whether the sappy ballad Katharine or R&B Katharine is the real deal (though I favour R&B Katharine myself). What Katharine has ended up with is an album which has solid material, but devoid of any real soul or personality. A real shame, because the Danja productions are near flawless. He brings some of the best productions to the table that I've heard in a while and no doubt many other artists would've killed for them. The likes of Beyoncé, Christina Aguilera or Kiley Dean would've done wonders with some of his material. Kiley Dean would've absolutely KILLED shit on "Neglected" which sounds like a much more heart stricken, sombre and mellow version of her song "Keep it movin'" musically.

Katharine's first effort is a pretty solid debut, but one which doesn't showcase Katharine in the best light. She was at the very least given half an album of extremely solid material, which makes this album worth a cop for the Danja productions alone. Just don't expect any of the other songs to truly wow you.

7 / 10

Album highlights:
■ Love story
■ Open toes
■ Over it
■ Not ur girl
■ Each other J's fave
■ Do what you do
■ Neglected
■ I lost you


  1. Welcome to 2007.

    Why is this review of her first album coming out now that her second album is about to drop???

  2. Because I just felt like reviewing it: that's why. Who said a review has to only be of something that's new?

  3. Speaking of her second album, she does NOT look good with blond hair. The new song is aight though.

  4. Glad you included I lost you as a highlight being that it's a bonus track. Kinda sad she's not going R&B for her second album, but it's a route too many girls nowadays are traveling.

  5. @FbYtuloud This is actually a post from J's old blog


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