Thursday, May 14, 2009

Elliott Yamin CD Review: Smooth and Refreshing

For those of you who don’t know, I live next to a McDonald’s, which makes it really hard to resist one of my biggest addictions—their large sweet tea.

It’s smooth and refreshing and once you’ve had a sip, you just can’t stop. Before you know it, you’ve drunk the whole thing…

I bring this up because that’s exactly how I would describe Elliott Yamin’s new CD, “Fight For Love.” It’s smooth and refreshing and you just can’t stop at one song. And before you know it, you’ve listened to the whole thing. And you’re hitting repeat because you think that you must’ve missed the bum song in the bunch.

But you haven’t missed it, because there isn’t one…

The CD starts off on a smooth note and doesn’t let up as it ranges from soulful to funky to just downright inspirational.

Elliott wisely reteams with StarGate, the team behind his smash, “Wait For You,” on two tracks—the best two on the CD—“You,” a soulful ballad, and “Don’t Be Afraid,” a funky more up-tempo number that features a bass line reminiscent of “When Doves Cry.”

“Apart From Me,” which Elliott co-wrote, is also a standout with its super-catchy chorus. And “This Step Alone,” another Elliott co-write, has a gorgeous chorus:

“I saw us break/I watched us fall/It made no sense to me at all/You say that you will but then you don’t/So I’m gonna take this step alone/In my heart of hearts I always knew this jump was way too far for you/You say that you will but then you don’t/So I’m gonna take this step alone.”

And then there’s “Someday,” the song that Elliott co-wrote after the death of his mother. When you first listen to it, you don’t really grasp the meaning of the song since it has such an optimistic beat to it. But when you start listening to the words very closely, you get it and it’s a beautiful heartbreaking song:

“Do you still hear me when I call your name/Will you be with me when I lose my way?/When it gets hard let me know what to do/You always told me that you’d never go/I need you to show me that I’m not alone/Do you still hear me when I sing for you?/Show me you do.”

When Elliott hits that last refrain of “Someday, I will see you again,” it’s hard not to burst into tears. In the Hickory Records press release, Elliott says, “I’m so proud of that song,” and he should be because it shows a real maturity in his songwriting as he manages to tap into the feelings that we all feel when we lose a loved one.

In fact, the entire CD shows a more mature Elliott in songwriting, song choice and especially, vocal quality. I’m not sure his voice has ever sounded better and all of these songs do a great deal to showcase it.

Taylor Hicks may have won, and Chris Daughtry may have sold more records, but I think a true case could be made that Elliott Yamin is the most vocally talented Idol from season five. “Fight For Love” goes a long way to proving that…

“Fight For Love” is available now…

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