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Balances Mainstream Aspirations and Alternative Sensibilities - 3 ½ Stars
on November 9, 2012
Phillip Phillips prepares to release his debut album, The World From The Side Of The Moon [Deluxe Edition] on November 19. "Where We Came From" follows up popular Olympic lifted single "Home," which peaked in the Billboard Hot 100 Top 10. "Where We Came From" tries to bridge itself somewhere between pop/rock with a tinge of folk/alternative fodder. Maybe to the surprise of some fans of the American Idol victor, while there is that 'uniqueness,' the cut ultimately is more commercially aimed/tinged than not. That is not to say this is a potential no. 1 single (it is not), but it works enough to give Phillips some radio play, particularly after "Home" was so successful.
"Where We Came From" opens with a unique groove, which definitely catches one's attention. There is a roots-driven sound with a soulful undertone, accentuated further by use the use of bowed strings. From the opening, there is the notion that this has to be a Dave Matthews Band cut, particularly given those strings and funky guitar. Eventually, many of the overt folk-rock stylings are replaced with more of rock/pop sound, hence giving "Where We Came From" its more 'mainstream' flair. Where a percussive groove buttressed the production initially, a harder, edgier drum-set driven groove takes over. Maybe more notable than the sound of the single is the fact that Phillips sounds more melodic than he did on American Idol, where he often over tweaked melodies. There is no doubt with this single that producers specifically wanted to make sure they had an artists who could deliver a more traditional pop/rock cut while also inserting some of himself into that cut.
The verdict? There seems to be more 'song' to this cut than "Home," which came off as more a record. "Home" seemed like more of the radio long shot, but triumphed due to the Olympics. While "Where We Came From" sounds like it should have more potential, it could possibly miss big Billboard Hot 100 airplay. Time will tell. Overall, it is a better record than expected and makes me more optimistic about Phillips, someone who I had reservations about throughout American Idol.