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Do you like shows like the X-Factor and American Idol ?
Well, I have to admit that, even I usually try to avoid watching any Reality-TV shows of the kind of Big Brother and I'm a Celebrity..., I am absolutely addicted to the ones that deal with hopeful future music superstars.
Not that I really believe, that any of these shows will ever find one - it is more the auditions that leave me glued to the TV year after year.
I find it fascinating to watch how some usually very normal people with less then mediocre voices all for a sudden don't care any more if they make a total idiot out of themselves.
The comments of the judges, especially the ones of the on rudeness bordering straightforwardness of Simon Cowell, make the whole affair even more hilarious and - shame on me - I just can't get enough to see these poor misguided souls being publicly humiliated.
The rest of the contest and its result is more or less irrelevant to me and I watch with bemusement, as my husband follows the results of the likes of Journey South with as much nervousness as their own mother.
I would have stopped keeping track on who's in or out during last years season of American Idol somewhere around the middle of the finals, if there wouldn't have been this guy who, to me, gave this kind of show a totally new lease of life.
Bo Bice appeared during the auditions in Orlando and, with his neo-Hippy look, the power voice and his down-to-earth Alabama homeboy attitude, was such a change to all the other contestants.
For the first time he brought real talent and originality into AI and during that season I found myself waiting in anticipation every week to hear what he would sing for us next. All the way through to the final in which he lost against Country-Babe Carrie Underwood.
And what a joy it was to see him performing songs as the Allman Brothers "Whipping Post",Blood, Sweat & Tears "Spinning Wheel", Jim Croce's "Time in a bottle",...!
Always true to his style and his roots he blew us away with "Sweet Home Alabama" , which he sung together with Lynyrd Skynyrd and his Southern Blues was such a refreshment in comparison to all the other contestants who were still struggling through the 100. re-make of "My hero".
He seemed to live and breathe his music down until the tips of his long flying hair.
So Carrie was the better singer, but her performances were robotic and about as exciting to watch as the rinsing programme on my washing machine.
So it turned out that he had a little drug problem in the past ? You'll be hard pressed to find a hard rocker who never had one...
After the show was over Bo released his first single with his version of the AI finalists song "Inside your heaven" which made it to the number 2 in the American Billboard Charts and 1 in the American Pop Charts. The B song was "Vehicle" (originally by the Ides of March) which made 83 in the American Pop Charts.
His first Album "The Real Thing" was released on 23.12.2005 and by the end of January it had made it's way into our house, where we were waiting impatiently for another dose of his Southern Blues.
Well, this is what we've got :
1. The Real Thing
This song was written by Kara DioGuardi and Marti Frederiksen. DioGuardi has written songs for Hilary Duff, Ricky Martin and Enrique Iglesias and it doesn't help one little bit that the co-writer has been writing for the likes of Aerosmith - the result is a very, very bad sappy pop-song in which Bo's enormous voice disappears totally.
"Tell me what you want - Tell me it's the real thing..."
Erm - NO Bo - it ain't !
2. You're Everything
Certainly one of the better songs on the album and probably the darkest one on it this song concentrates more on Bo's voice.
There are some nice guitar riffs at the beginning but towards the end of the song there are again some pop tools like echoing sounds that are totally unnecessary and spoil the song a bit.
"I'll spray-paint your name on the moon - cause you are everything "
Yeah Bo, go ahead ! Only I can't get over the feeling that it shouldn't be you who's singing this song as the style reminds me of another band - which is not surprising, as the song is written by Nickelback's Chad Kroeger, for whom it probably would have been perfect.
3. U make me better
This one was written by Martin Sandberg, Lukasz Gottwald (guitarist of the Saturday Night Liveshow) and Jill Latiano.
They have also written songs for Kelly Clarkson and this song is probably one of the worst on the album. It is a clear pop-rock song in the style of REO Speedwagon and Bo's voice sounds absolutely flat on this one. The background singer manages to out-sing Bo which would be bad enough, if he wouldn't have such a bad voice.
4. Nothing without you
Written by Jon Bon Jovi, Richie Sambora and John Shanks.
Now, this is not a bad song - if it would have been sung by the man himself. For Bo it was certainly not a good choice and his voice sounds forced and the guitars are much to overpowering. While he was on AI he never sounded like doing Karaoke, but now he does. This is simply Bo Bice trying to do Jon Bon Jovi and he fails to deliver.
The CD would have been better without it !
This pop ballad, written by Mitch Allan and John Allen is probably the most boring song on the album. Bo's voice lacks sentiment and enthusiasm and , while listening to it, I can't get over the feeling as if it is a constant battle in between the music and the voice, which is a bit of a surprise, as Bo has proved to us all on AI that he has enormous lung-power, here he sounds flat as a pancake.
A very mediocre and simply forgettable song
6. Remember Me
The song starts off well with the sound reminding me of the ballads by the Scorpions. Towards the second half of the song it falls straight back into the 80's pompous pop/rock genre and again Bo has to fight against the music, the background singers, which would be absolutely unnecessary as they do nothing to enhance the songs quality, and loads of jingles.
"It feels like agony " Bo sings and it doesn't only feel so, it certainly sounds so.
This is another one written by Kara DioGuardi and Marti Frederiksen who seem to be the worst offenders on this album.
The style just doesn't suit Bo's voice and this is surely one of the worst tracks on the album and I do not think that many people will remember Bo in 10 years time if he keeps on making songs like this.
7. Hold on to me
This song is written by Jess Cates, Dennis Matkosky ( Clay Aiken) and Lindy Robbins (Liza Minelly).
Another pop ballad that seems to be a clone of the last one. It is boring, unoriginal and, again, Bo's voice sounds forced, fighting through a bit of falsetto at the end.
"You can't remember who you're supposed to be" Bo sings. Well, his autobiography in one sentence I suppose...
Martin Sandberg, Lukasz Gottwald
This is a pop song that has been spruced up with some heavier guitar sounds and this treatment didn't become the song to well. There are loads of synthesizer effects in this one and this song is the one that takes Bo the furthest away from his original style.
The song itself could be a hit - if sung by Britney Spears.
Bo himself comes over as totally uninterested and he sounds as if he would rather be part of a knitting-competition then singing this.
The worst song on the album by far.
9. It's my life
The first song on the CD which Bo co-wrote together with Clif Magnes (Lisa Marie Presley) and Kari DioGuardi.
This is a very melodic pop/rock song and Bo's voice is for once not overshadowed by over-pompous guitars, but accompanied by them and the result is a song that is much better then most of the others on the CD.
From the style it is, for my taste, still much too much Bon Jovi than Lynyrd Skynyrd, not really something original, but nice enough to listen to it a few more times.
10. Willing to try
Written by John Shanks ( Kelly Clarkson, Joe Cocker, Hilary Duff) and Richie Sambora this ballad starts really good with Bo's bariton coming over nicely. As soon as the music starts to get a bit faster there are the well known Bon Jovi effects again, with lots of guitar, but this time more subtle then on the previous "Nothing without you" and Bo's voice is clearly belting on top of them. Again one of the better songs as it is not quite as 80's in it's style as others before. Nice to listen to, but worth to buy an album ?
11. Valley Of Angels
Written by Bo Bice, together with Cliff Magnes
Apparently Bo had written this song a long time ago and was playing it in the studio to himself when the producers heard it and decided that it was good enough for the CD. I wonder if the horrid background choir in the song was
really Bo's idea or if they are part of the overhaul it got by the co-writer.
This gospel-like background singing comes over in an almost comical way and the song therefore could be easily used as a part of Sister Act. Which is a shame, as it is actually a nice song, very balanced with some nice guitar riffs at the end, but the ladies spoil it a bit.
If I have said nice song here, this stands for nice pop song, as I wouldn't even categorize this one as pop/rock any more.
Well, apart form the fact that I was absolutely disappointed by the outcome of Bice's first album, I have to admit that it doesn't come as such a big surprise.
The producer obviously had doubts of the ability to sell a album in Bo's original Southern Blues Rock Style and therefore thought it to be necessary to spruce his style a bit up. The result is a very mediocre 80's style pop/rock album, that might please some people much more then Bo's usual stuff, but it lacks originality and the singers own talents have been reduced to naught.
If we have a closer look at the producer/writers then we will find nearly only people that have worked with the contestants of AI in the last years and so far none of them, apart from Kelly Clarkson, has really achieved success. As it is often the case that new artists do not have the rights to choose the songs on their first album but will be give more freedom later on in their contracts, there might still be hope for Bo.
Bo Bice himself was one of the oldest contestants who ever entered AI and must have known what he got himself into, as he had many years of working in the music business behind him (he left school at 16 and has made music ever since, playing in various groups). To sign a contract with producer Clive Davis was probably not the best idea ever, as Davis and his team are well known to produce music that is made to sell to the masses, without giving any second thoughts to the musicians real abilities and integrity. Here they obviously took a chance to earn a buck or two out of Bo's new found popularity on AI and sacrificed the singer for it.
Strangely there was absolutely no need for this, as the fans that Bo won throughout the show would have bought the album anyway and the album is now of such poor quality, that it will hardly win over any new fans, as it just doesn't contain anything that hasn't been done before by others. What a waste of talent !
Would I recommend it ?
For all those who liked Bo in AI and are hoping to find the same style it is a absolute NO- Stay away from it !
I will probably dust my copy much, much more often then listen to it...
Fans of the 1980's style pomp pop/rock might like the album, the same goes for fans of Nickelback, as there are quite some resemblances in style. You might guess - I am not a big fan of theirs.
I got my copy from www.2cd-wow.com for £ 9.99 which is probably about average
If you want to find out more about Bo Bice or want to listen to some of his tracks :
Thanks for reading, Sandra
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Real Thing
2 You're Everything
3 U Make Me Better
4 Nothing Without You
5 My World
6 Remember Me
7 Hold On To Me
8 Lie...It's Alright
9 It's My Life
10 Willing To Try
11 Valley Of Angels