August 4, 2011

Elliott Gets Real

Let's Get to What's Real.

There's no doubt in my mind that this man can sing. None whatsoever. He can write. But I wasn't exactly rushing out to buy the American Idol's third studio disc. Gather 'round by Elliott Yamin should have been another hit. First, I'd have to pay import prices as no American based record label wanted it. Secondly, it would have to come from Japan, so I wasn't willing to wait, and the disc eventually fell off my radar. However, an Amazon gift card changed all that, and soon enough, the collection was on its way.

The opening number, Three Words, is effective but doesn't grab my ear the way Fight for Love or Wait for You did when I first heard those earlier releases. Not a good sign. Even though I am a big fan of the voice and love all the background vocals, it just seemed as if Elliott was trying too hard. The rest of the cuts on side one didn't do it for me either.

The disc's title opens the second half and is a pretty fun cut. Later, Self Control had great promise but ends much too quickly at just over two and a quarter minutes.

Just as I was about to call the disc a wash and relegate it to my storage bins, the slow jam 70's groove of Let's Get to What's Real popped into my head, winning me over with its old school elegance and catchy lyrical hook. Philly soul meets modern day R&B, an instantly likable, unexpected hit. Relaxed and comfortable in his own skin, Elliott belongs here- honoring the greats of the past by bringing in new songs with an older style.

The man who won the audience's over with his stellar rendition of Moody's Mood for Love should step back and reaccess where he's going musically. With his songwriting skills, terrific voice, and warm personality, Elliott Yamin should make his idols, Stevie Wonder and Donny Hathaway, quite proud. I'm up for one more try...

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