The First Evil (asta77) wrote,
The First Evil

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As Promised...My Review of Mad Brilliant

Suddenly I feel like Simon on American Idol. What can I say, I felt like I was at a High School prom listening to a bunch of teenage wanna be rock stars. Take James out of the mix and I think I pretty much nailed it.

Now before people go "here she goes again" with another one of my scathing criticisms mired in minutia, you'd be wrong. :p First off, while I'm a pretty good judge of movies and TV, when it comes to music, I just know what I like and what I don't. Well, and I can hear a bad note when one is hit (I'll get to that shortly).

I don't think I'll be shocking anyone by saying the lyrics (what I could make out of them - they aren't included) are simplistic at best, bad at worst, with "German.Jewish." qualifying as offensive if it weren't so insipid.

"Liar" and "Call 911" were the worst of the lot in my opinion. I thought they provided the most glaring examples of the weaknesses of James' voice. I think he's a decent enough singer, but he has a limited range. Don't try and hit notes you can't. I'm really surprised the tracks were released as they were since he hits some real clunckers. And on one song I wanted to ask him to clear his throat.

"David Letterman" he sings with no sense of irony. "Wouldn't it be rad if I could be your favorite TV personality"? Gee, I think you qualify as such for quite a few people already.

Now, as to what I liked (see I can be nice)...."Dangerous" and "Angel". "Dangerous" I know has been a bit controversial. Yes, James sings of having less than pure thoughts for a girl not quite legal. But, I fail to picture Michelle Trachtenberg as many have implied is the girl he sings of. Other than having "long brown hair" I don't know why people would think he's singing of MT.

Regardless, I thought it was a nice little pop song. Definiteley could see people jumping to their feet and bopping about to it in concert. Plus, I like how the song begins, just James and a guitar. It has a nice intimacy to it, as if he's in the room with you. :)

The best cut is probably "Angel". This is a stripped down song, again, just James and a guitar. The acoustic nature of the song suits him best. I know this is how he started out in clubs and I think perhaps he should have stayed a one man show.

It wasn't until after I finished listening to the CD that I went back and looked at the track listenings. It's then that I discovered that the two songs I enjoyed where those written by James himself. And I think that's why these are the strongest cuts, the personal nature of the songs translates into his performance. "Angel" I know was written after a bad breakup him. It's obvious these songs mean something to him - the rest he seems at a distance, merely reciting someone else's words. His songs have a story to tell at least; I hear it and feel it. Whereas many of the other songs just sound like words thrown together (and badly).

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