Thursday, July 23, 2009
Album review: Brooke White - High Hopes & Heartbreak (4 / 5)
Brooke White is a former contestant on the seventh season on the US talent show, American Idol. White came in fifth place, losing out to David Cook, who took home the crown. Now White releases her debut album, High Hopes & Heartbreak, which actually recorded before she appeared on the show. She's probably looking to follow in the footsteps of Clay Aiken, Jennifer Hudson and Chris Daughtry (of Daughtry) all former contestants who failed to win but still managed to pursue a steady music career and not so much Kelly Pickler, who recently put out her second album, which failed to amount to any success.
High Hopes & Heartbreak, can be seen as a pop album although it sounds more country and folksy with some pop presence here and there. It's a messy album, but it's a nice mess, deemed with various jumps in the genres it covers--making not as consistent and tight as it should be. Getting right into the bulk the albums best track is the acoustic styled remake of Kings of Leon's hit "Use Somebody" starting out a stripped down piano and string endeavour before the drums and the whole acoustic style composition kicks in the chorus.
The opening number "Radio Radio" is fun cruising song, with a breezy chorus backed with a nice melody and some "ooh's" thrown in to conjur up that lighthearted feel. "Hold Up My Heart" follows up well, it's the albums first ballad--sounds like it could be a really good single in the UK. Whilst you can still get that folksy atmosphere from it, it does for the most part take up a tranditional ballad configuration. Carbon copy "Out of the Ashes" follows up quite lackluster, White sounds really good on here, but it does sound like "Heart" with a key change in the composition.
The more heavy country contemporary sounding "Phoenix" is a nice number, possibly among the albums highlights. Backed with your archetypical acoustic designed drHums, twangy guitars and handclaps. The guitar ballad "When We Were One" is also very good.
The second half of the album is quite lackluster, with not that many tracks to give credit to. The piano ballad "Smile" is a good ballad, but nothing that different from "When We Were One" except it's backed by a piano instead of a guitar. "Little Bird" is probably my least favorite song on the album, sounds like it's there just to lengthen the album.
The albums picks itself up a bit on its title track "High Hopes & Heartbreak" a '70s disco influenced, but still country sounding offering. Very retro. "Sometimes Love" is among the albums best ballads, taking up a strict drum and piano composition accompanied by a wonderful vocal performance by White. I also like the fun guitar backed "California Song" there really isn't much to it.
The melodic and stripped down "Be Careful" is beautiful closing number, I really like songs like these--songs that only obtain vocals against a piano or a guitar--it's such a cool way to compose a heartfelt song. Kelly Clarkson's "Chivas" and P!nk's "Glitter in the Air" are great examples. High Hopes & Heartbreak, was a good intoduction to Brooke White, I heard she released an album before this; as I think this is a really good album, I question wether going back and listening to the previous is worthit.
Best: Use Somebody, Radio Radio, High Hopes & Heartbreak, Sometimes Love, Hold Up My Heart, When We Were One