Review Summary: While he can cover any song and make it good, Cas Haley falls short when he is left to his own devices.
It is my firm belief that all originality in this world has already been exercised. Our current vision of originality, then, is just that others have remade something in a way which has been twisted enough we cannot recognize the main idea. But, I have no doubt, if the twisting themes were unfolded, the underlying archetype would be there for anyone to recognize. This proves true through music, movies, television, novels, comics, etc. etc .etc. The worst part is, no one ever ceases the prolificacy. They just continue to churn out as much material as possible, when, if they took a moment to step back and look at what they just created, they would probably realize that it has already been done before. This is a problem, I believe. Sorry, but I can’t answer a solution. If you can…great. My point here is that the product of this era of unoriginality is leading to more and more music artists covering other music artists’ works. And this, folks, is where Cas Haley enters the picture.
Cas Haley attracted attention to himself by entering the second television season of “America’s Got Talent.” After playing acoustic versions of songs by popular artists like the Police, Elvis Presley, and Stevie Wonder, Haley then earned himself a record deal. And here in 2008, Haley’s self-titled debut is thrust upon us. However, I wouldn’t really call it a debut, seeing as the only standout tracks (and the only ones really worth listening to) have already been sung before, and they have been sung better. I won’t deny the fact that Haley’s voice is electric and an instant turn-on to the listener. He croons smoothly and with much ease. This is probably the reason he earned himself a record deal in the first place. However, when one looks at the lyrics on paper, the substance just isn’t there. It’s just another generic message meant to apply to anybody. This especially holds true when Haley is left to write his own material. The most common theme: love, of course. Haley isn’t the most attractive fellow, so I guess he’s gotta get himself some loving somehow. The musicianship follows along the same lines as the lyrics. They’re just there to, well, I guess, be there. Horns, keys, and guitars are boasted proudly throughout pretty much every track. The reggae influence is always there, but with a pop twist. The beats bounce along and are enough to be enjoyable. But in the end, you’re begging for a new rhythm. This makes completing the entire album in one sitting quite a task, and really, the reward is not that great.
So now it’s time to reminisce. Take a step back. Re-look at what’s been covered. All in all, Cas Haley has got talent. He had enough to get a record deal and woo thousands of fans on that TV game show. But, when it comes down to substance, he just isn’t there. The covers are have enough replay value for a couple listens, but Haley struggles to make it through twelve song so much that he has to play the same song twice. And not just is it the same song…it’s the same cover song! Maybe he was thinking that if the Police were successful with this song, then I’ll be successful. Whatever he was thinking, I’m sure it’s been thought before. And this is where we fall into this endless vortex that is originality. Yet at this point, are you even surprised? I’m gonna go listen to some Mr. Bungle or something.