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An underwhelming album
Fame Academy - The Finalists
Member Name: dippykitty
Fame Academy - The Finalists
Advantages: Some good tracks
Disadvantages: Most of the album is quite dull for me and many of the track sound much the same
I used to enjoy watching Fame Academy before it was axed from BBC. I preferred it to the likes of The X Factor as one of the requirements was for the contestants to be able to write their own songs rather than just rehash other people's covers. My next sentence is probably going to sound more than a bit ironic as this CD features cover songs from some of the contestants on the second series of the show. In the order that they finished, this is Alex Parks (the winner), Alistair Griffin (the runner-up), Carolynne Good, Peter Brayme, James Fox (who went on to represent the UK in Eurovision a few years back and didn't do very well) and Paris Campbell-Edwards.
***Alex Parks -Yellow***
I never "got" Alex at the time and was hoping that Alistair or Carolynne would win instead. I used to skip her tracks on this CD as I couldn't stand her voice but I'd like to think that I'm more impartial now that I'm rediscovering this track after a few years of not listening to it. This cover of the Coldplay track features guitar backing and is quite laid-back but a bit more sassy than the Coldplay original. I'm still not very keen on her version even though I was never a big fan of the Coldplay track in the first place.
*** Alex Parks - Words***
This is a cover of the Boyzone track. I really liked the Boyzone track and can't get into this cover at all as I don't think that her voice fits the track. As is quite typical of her style, she goes for the indie slant and puts more of an edge into the track than Ronan Keating did but I don't really believe what she's singing.
*** Alex Parks - I Don't Want To Talk About***
Of her four tracks here, this is the one that I like best. Her voice fits this track much better than the previous two tracks, and this time I genuinely believe what she's singing. I'm still not much of a fan of her vocals as they seem to be a bit of an acquired taste that you either love or dislike (a little like Diana Vickers in X Factor 5).
*** Alex Parks - Tainted Love***
This is another track that I don't like much and it doesn't compare to the original for me. I don't like the way that she tries to twist the notes when she sings the chorus (the "tainted love part at the end of most of the choruses). All in all, I find it to be quite dull and uninspiring.
***Alistair Griffin - Wherever You Will Go***
Although I liked him on the show, The Calling's original of this track is one of my favourite tracks so I wasn't sure if I would like his version. The verses start off quite dull and he sounds a bit nasal to me, but things liven up in the chorus with the heavier guitar backing. Overall, I like this track but I do prefer the original. The "soft rock" vibe suits his voice though and this is the direction that I hoped that he'd take after the show.
***Alistair Griffin - Lately***
Things start to go downhill at this point as I don't like this track much. His vocals sound fine but I just find this track dull and want to turn it off before it's halfway through.
***Alistair Griffin - Truly Madly Deeply***
I adore the Savage Garden original of this track so covering that was always going to be a tough ask where I am concerned. He sings it well with a few nice touches into the higher register but for me, it doesn't compare to the original, which has a sweeter quality. I would have preferred a more acoustic backing track too as it tends to get on my nerves in the middle of the track and starts to take my attention away from the vocals.
***Alistair Griffin - It Must Be Love***
This is another track that I find quite dull. To be fair, I was never a fan of the Madness track to begin with but Alistair doesn't make me like it any better. It just washes over me and bores me.
***Carolynne Good - Underneath Your Clothes***
Things start to pick up with this track. I really like her vocals and the track is well sung. I much prefer it to Shakira as I don't really enjoy Shakira's voice much, and Carolynne has a nicer range.
***Carolynne - True Colours***
Again, I like the vocals. The backing gets heavier in the chorus which stops it from being too boring. I think that it needs this as I find this to be quite a boring song in general and didn't like the Cyndi Lauper version in the first place.
*** Carolynne Good - It Must Have Been Love***
This track is nicely sung with piano-type backing in the verses and what sounds like some guitar backing over the top of that in the chorus.
***Carolynne Good - Think Twice***
This is one of the few Celine Dion songs that I actually like so I wasn't sure if I would like it as she isn't a Celine Dion type singer. The track uses a similar backing track to the original but this is really where the similarities end. I can't help comparing Carolynne to Celine Dion, which probably isn't fair as she's a different type of singer. I keep expecting this track to kick in somewhere with some big vocals but it never really does. The vocals do get bigger towards the end of the track but this isn't the big power ballad that I was expecting and it falls somewhat short of the original for me because of that. That said, I do like it but not as much as the Underneath Your Clothes cover.
***Peter Brayme - In Your Place***
I have to say that I really disliked him during the show and his appeal totally bypassed me so I was fully expecting to hate this Coldplay cover. I was quite surprised to find that I actually didn't mind it. I wouldn't say that I loved it, but it was pleasant enough to listen to and impressed me more than anything he did on the show itself.
***James Fox - Somewhere In My Heart***
I like the vocals on this, even if he does sound vaguely like an 80s singer on it. It sounds quite dated but as I have a soft spot for these types of songs, I don't mind this. The backing track is quite lively and this tends to take my attention away from the vocals somewhat.
***Paris Campbell-Edwards - Misty Blue***
This track demonstrates some nice vocals, which is just as well given that it's his only one on the album. I like the track to begin with but his tendency to stretch out the words at the end of each line starts to get on my nerves after a bit and makes me want to turn it off.
This album changed my mind about some of the contestants featured on it. While I still don't really understand the appeal of Alex, I was quite impressed with Peter and James, both of whom I never took to during the series. On the other hand, I liked Alistair a lot but don't think that he came across that well here. I also liked Carolynne on the show and think that she came across quite well on this album too. My main criticism of Alex, Alistair and Carolynne is that their songs here tend to sound quite similar in terms of vocals even though they try to cover a range of tempos. I don't know if this is down to the songs or their voices. Overall, this is a decent album but nothing particularly special. If you were a fan of Alex, Alistair or James, I would suggest downloading their more original material instead of buying this album. As far as I am aware, the former two definitely released albums and I think that James also did although I may be wrong.
Summary: I wouldn't go out of your way to buy this as find it quite dull