43 of 53 people found the following review helpful
A BIT DISAPPOINTED,
This review is from: Soulful (Audio CD)
I am a fan of AMERICAN IDOL, but not a huge fan of any particular contestant - just a casual fan of most of the top contestants. I did not vote in either season as I usually had to go to work (nightshift at a hospital) soon after each episode. I have purchased CDs by Ruben, Kelly, Clay & Justin & I also plan to purchase Kim's. If Tamyra (who shares my name) ever puts one out, I will buy it, too. Do not write me off as a big Clay or Kelly fan because I am not. I like all these singers pretty much equally. To insinuate that just because someone disagrees with your fangirly raves about your idol's CD that they must be a rival basher is nonsense & just plain insulting.I loved Ruben's AI2 performances when he was "on." By that I mean in fine voice & seemingly happy to be there & upbeat in his performance style. In reality, he was nowhere near as perfect as the judges made him out to be & with that they did him a grave disservice. Both Kelly & Clay received criticism, sometimes constructive, & I think they took the advice & ran with it. I think that is why their performances continue to improve even thru today. They have both produced admirable first albums, tho there is always room for progression.The producers of AI2 let Ruben slide sometimes when he gave a less than stellar performance & it seems that they have done the same with him on this CD. To be honest, I was expecting more of a straight R&B album & that is from where some of my disappointment stems. Consequently, my favorite tracks are the ones where the AI Ruben shines singing the type of music I was expecting from him. I think a lot of his voting public probably feel the same way & that is why you are getting some negative reviews here.It's not that I dislike hip-hop ... I am in fact a fan of Eminem, Outkast, Queen Latifah, Beyonce, Black-Eyed Peas & others ... I just prefer it when it is really well-done & I'm not exactly especially impressed with the tracks Ruben is offering in that genre. Some of the lyrics are way too repetitive, the beats redundant & the themes kind of silly. Yes, I prefer straight-out R&B, the old-fashioned Luther-style, which is what I thought I'd be getting from Ruben in greater quantity.I fear that J Records is trying too hard to push him into a more contemporary format, or maybe that's Ruben's desire, I don't know. But whoever made the decision that Ruben should go hip-hop is just plain wrong. Maybe future albums are the place to try new things, but with his first, I was really hoping for the Ruben I know & love. There is such a huge void in real R&B/Soul music on the charts today & I was praying that Ruben could be the saviour of the genre. I guess I thought wrong.I still like his voice when he is really putting his all into a performance. And since I am from his hometown, I want to support him & believe me, my opinion is not appreciated around here! But judging from their albums, I think Kelly & Clay are more on track with what the public wants from them & what suits their personalities & voices. Their CDs aren't perfect by any means, but at least there isn't a tune on either of them where I say to myself, "She/he shouldn't be singing that."As for poor Justin, I think he was a victim of AI mis-management & his album isn't all that bad, to be truthful. But it's also nowhere near what you would expect from his AI1 performances.IMHO, the quality of the 4 AI albums I've heard so far is thusly: 1.Clay 2.Kelly 3.Ruben 4.Justin. I know that arrogant media critics have bashed all 4 of them unmercifully simply because of anti-AI bias, but the truth is that all 4 of them are better than most of what you hear on the radio nowadays! I am so looking forward to Kim Locke's CD next year because if I ever came close to having a favorite, it was probably her or Tamyra.