Katharine McPhee
Katharine McPhee


2.0
poor

Review

by Amanda Murray STAFF
February 10th, 2007 | 24 replies | 6,541 views


Release Date: 2007 | Tracklist

Review Summary: As a graduate of a TV show which praises literal imitation, is it any wonder that Katherine McPhee's debut album is thoroughly derivative? Unlikely. As expected, McPhee's eponymous debut is safe, predictable, unoriginal, but marketable in every sense.

As a graduate of a television show which praises impersonation and rewards literal imitation, is it any wonder that American Idol runner-up Katharine McPhee's debut album is thoroughly derivative? Throughout the hit television show's fifth season, McPhee was acclaimed for her indistinguishable covers of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" and KT Tunstall's "Black Horse and Cherry Tree". Unlike eventual winner Taylor Hicks, McPhee was safe, predictable, unoriginal but marketable in every sense; young, good-looking, wholesome, and a fantastic singer. Whether she finished thirty-second or first, music executives would have no trouble selling Katharine McPhee. And so comes the eponymous debut record - safe, predictable, unoriginal, but marketable in every sense.

To give McPhee her due credit, she is a very good singer. But she's so unremarkable in every way, that she fails to put a stamp on any single track. Any song here could be sung by Kelly Clarkson, Christina Aguilera, Jojo, Nelly Furtado, insert pop singer here - and with much more distinction. Brooke Hogan could breathe more life into these songs. Instead, McPhee sings them, they come, they go, and nothing much comes of it.

Perhaps the biggest gripe with this record is that there is not a single song here that's terrible. There's not a single song here that's fantastic. McPhee's writers take no risks or chances, refuse to step outside of a vendible mold, and this is perhaps the worst part of the entire venture. If they had attempted to piece together a record that didn't sound like a sorry little sister of everything that's selling at the moment, they would at least earn points for stepping outside of the box.

Instead, the record reads like a who's-who's of imitations - "Do What You Do" is pure Stefani, "Home" is Aguilera redux, "Over It" would be more authentically performed by 12-year old Jojo; "Open Toes" counters - let's get creative - Nelly's "Air Force Ones". The only songs here which merit any attention are "Love Story", an airy throwback track which is enjoyable if inauthentic and album closer "Everywhere I Go", whose appeal is best explained by a line in the song, "there was something about [it] that I couldn't resist, can't put my finger on it/but whatever it is", the song gets credit for somehow invoking Celine Dion during the run up to the chorus. Don't ask.

Having only watched the finale of last season's American Idol I have little memory of what cutesy nicknames fervent McPhee supporters gave themselves, but I doubt "McPhans of an artist wasting her talent with derivative pablum because it might sell a couple thousand records and get her a Jeopardy square in 2013 rather than express any artistic message whatsoever or positively expand the horizons of pop music in any perceptible manner" was among them. Here's to hoping she's pull a Kelly Clarkson and set things right on her sophomore effort.



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user ratings (9)
Chart.
2.8
good

Comments:Add a Comment 
morrissey
Moderator
February 10th 2007



1688 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Just another quick one which came out of a soundoff.

Jom
Staff Reviewer
February 10th 2007



2633 Comments


As a graduate of a television show which praises impersonation and rewards literal imitation, is it any wonder that American Idol runner-up Katharine McPhee's debut album is thoroughly derivative?


Seriously badass intro that nails the concept of American Idol. I stopped caring last season because I thought Daughtry had it in the bag, but when he lost, I was hoping for McPhee to lose more than Hicks to win, although I was pretty happy for Hicks because he's such a salt-and-pepper-haired spazz attack waiting to happen. I didn't really care for the girl's attitude, and her only real standout performance was "Somewhere Over the Rainbow."
A+++ review as well.

Liberi Fatali
Emeritus
February 10th 2007



1588 Comments


Whilst others seemed to love your Gwen Stefani review, I think this is a far better quick review born out of a soundoff. Fantastic intro as well.

It sucks that the producers of the debut American Idol albums seem incapable of utilising the singers talents. Its too bad the albums never live up to the show.This Message Edited On 02.10.07

Sepstrup
February 10th 2007



1563 Comments


Fantastic review. I liked Katherine on the show, but I wouldn't expect much from an album of hers, and I probably won't check this out.

Digging: How to Dress Well - What Is This Heart?

Abaddon2005
February 10th 2007



684 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

This wasn't poorly written by anyone's standards, but I most definitely prefer your longer, more in-depth reviews to these.

As for Mcphee, yeah pretty bland stuff. What's funny is you said that they didn't think outside the box, which I agree on, and that's actually exactly what puts it below average, to me anyways.

The Jungler
February 10th 2007



4827 Comments


Whoever negged this has bad taste in reviews, as this was relatively fantastic.
McPhee was one of my favorites last year, if only because of how attractive she was. That said, I totally get everything your saying, and, if I did find myself listening to this, I would not be surprised if I agreed with everything you say here.

Tyler
Emeritus
February 10th 2007



7928 Comments


Yeah, this review was perfect and totally solid. It was too long to be a soundoff, but not too short to be a review, people are just babies.

Obviously I'm one of the people who does appreciate your longer reviews, without question, but honestly how much can you be expected to talk about with an album such as this? I honestly feel like to push it any longer would result in a tedious read.

I can't believe Somewhere Over the Rainbow isn't on this. She milked that song for all it was worth on the show.

morrissey
Moderator
February 10th 2007



1688 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

lol I love how all the talk about negging without leaving a comment has done some good.

What's funny is you said that they didn't think outside the box, which I agree on, and that's actually exactly what puts it below average, to me anyways.

It's also what puts it below average for me. There are no risks here, no attempts to bring something different to the pop scene.

Obviously I'm one of the people who does appreciate your longer reviews, without question, but honestly how much can you be expected to talk about with an album such as this? I honestly feel like to push it any longer would result in a tedious read.

That's the way I'm beginning to feel about these pop reviews. I'd just be getting redundant because my opinion about the entire album through and through is that it's derivative, all been done before. I could write another 1000 words but it would just be saying the same thing. So yeah, I completely agree with you.


Thanks for the comments guys.



Tyler
Emeritus
February 10th 2007



7928 Comments


And it's not even like there's any real controversy surrounding this album. There were a few tabloids that hypothesized she was a lesbian, but so what?

I mean, Pop reviews lend themselves to reviews that are either concise or massive, but Katherine McPhee is just completely ordinary in every way, the only thing that sets her apart was her losing appearance on American Idol.

Shattered_Future
February 10th 2007



1539 Comments


I like this cover though. :naughty:

It's a shame that Idol hasn't put out anybody good since Season 1. Fantasia was alright, but most of them are terribly unoriginal.

Abaddon2005
February 10th 2007



684 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0


This review is perfect and totally solid.


That's a massive overstatement. Like I said before, her writing is exquisite, but a perfect review? For such a short review, there is quite an amount of background and history given. While I actually enjoy reading history in reviews, and in the context of an artist like this it is essential, it ultimately leads to the fact that there's not being enough space for actual objective descriptions, which I find in a lot of ''professional'' reviews. (look at AMG) If you're totally new to this kind of music, I can imagine this not being very helpful, other than to look at the other artists she mentioned.

Obviously there are tonnes of references to artists in the same genre who make much better music than her, and it's a good thing to reference to more well-known artists because more people have heard of them. But again objective descriptions on what the music sounds like are what make Sputnik's reviews a cut above the rest. Anyway, the reviewer in question already knows and understands my point, (being that I conveyed a similar point in the previous review) but it does seem that people often tend to give a less critical eye to staff reviewers simply based on past accomplishments, which isn't helpful to anyone.
This Message Edited On 02.10.07

Two-Headed Boy
February 10th 2007



4527 Comments


There really isn't that much background info or history. Still, this review is awesome. Good going.

morrissey
Moderator
February 10th 2007



1688 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Abaddon, I agree with you on most points but the comparison to AMG is pretty silly since Erlewine, their principle pop reviewer, spends the vast majority of his reviews talking background and his musical analysis is often secondary to his analysis of the given artist's persona. I mean even his review of this particular album fits his formula to a T. Allmusic, and Erlewine in particular, take this sort of non-musical analysis to the extreme.



Abaddon2005
February 10th 2007



684 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0


Oh I didn't really meant the pop section in particular there because stuff like reviews on Elvis Costello were actually helpful, just a number of reviews on the site have about three or four lines on actual descriptions (in some extreme cases just four lines of actual writing, though that's better than nothing at all) I haven't looked at their review on this though, so my bad there. Either way, that wasn't the biggest thing about what I was trying to say, but I'm pretty sure you already got that earlier in the Gwen Stefani review. *thumbs up*

mynameischan
Staff Reviewer
February 10th 2007



17920 Comments


we all know pop sucks anyway

morrissey
Moderator
February 10th 2007



1688 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Either way, that wasn't the biggest thing about what I was trying to say, but I'm pretty sure you already got that earlier in the Gwen Stefani review. *thumbs up*

I hear you. I appreciate the honest criticism. My next go around I'll try a more in-depth approach. Those reviews are just pretty draining for me.

metallicaman8
February 10th 2007



4677 Comments


Not bad for a Sens fan :thumb:

Abaddon2005
February 11th 2007



684 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0


I'm gonna settle on a 2, I wonder what would have happened if she had more daring producers backing her, because she can still sing. Hopefully we'll find out with a 2nd release.

Also, morrissey, just a suggestion, but since the longer ones are draining, maybe you can find something of a middle ground between these shorter ones and the *cough* essay-style Pulp ones.;)

La Revolucion
February 11th 2007



1060 Comments


Good review. 'Nuff said.This Message Edited On 02.11.07

Sepstrup
February 12th 2007



1563 Comments


Review This is Hardcore will you?



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