Gorillaz “Plastic Beach” review

Corporate line:
Five years on from the release of Demon Days, Murdoc Niccals and co. return with Plastic Beach. The band have taken up residence, recording on a secret floating island deep in the South Pacific, a Plastic Beach HQ, made up of the detritus, debris and washed up remnants of humanity. This Plastic Beach is the furthest point from any landmass on Earth; the most deserted spot on the planet.

The world’s biggest animated band, Gorillaz formed in 1998, and have since sold 12 million copies over two albums Gorillaz (2000) and Demon Days (2005). They have hit number 1 in more than a dozen countries and picked up awards including Grammys, Novellos, VMAs and EMAs.

Gorillaz
Artist: Gorillaz
Title: Plastic Beach
Label: Virgin
Rating: 6/10

Review:
“Welcome to the World of the Plastic Beach” f/Snoop dogg and Hypnotic Brass Ensemble – I’ve never heard Snoop Dogg so calm and fluid. He sits back in a lethargic beat while trying to bring a message of landfills and environmental issues. Snoop an environmentalist? You have to wonder if he got the memo.

“White Flag” f/Bashy, Kano and The Lebanese National Orchestra for Oriental Arabic Music – The beat is hot but the hip-hop is passe. Does Albarn even knows the difference?

“Rhinestone Eyes” – A great beat is lost on Albarn’s sweet voice. The beat tries to draw Albarn into a hook that never comes. The song goes nowhere. It’s a shame because its got mad potential.

“Stylo” f/Bobby Womack and Mos Def – Mos Def does what he can with what he is given.

“Superfast Jellyfish” f/Gruff Rhys and De La Soul – De La Soul? Seriously. When is the last time they’ve done anything? They don’t necessarily drop the ball–but its a good thing that Gruff Rhys (lead singer of Super Furry Animals) is along to save the song.

“Empire Ants” f/Little Dragon – Painfully slow. Albarn does find a way to suck you in. A great song to put on when going to bed and in need of sweet dreams.

“Glitter Freeze f/Mark E. Smith – A great electro track that belonged on the last Prodigy album.

“Some Kind of Nature” f/Lou Reed – Albarn obviously digs Lou Reed. I’m glad someone does because this is a waste.

“On Meloncholy Hill” – No Blur fan will be surprised to hear Albarn heading back to the ’80s and mining for gold. This could have been held for a future Blur release.

“Broken” – This sounds like it came from a William Orbit production. The music is fantastic and could have survived on its own without Albarn–in fact it may have been better without vocals.

“Sweepstakes” f/Mos Def and Hypnotic Brass Ensemble – Usually Mos Def is on. Well the lights are out.

“Plastic Beach” f/Mick Jones and Paul Simonon – Getting the former Clash members together probably sounded great on paper–but where are they?

“To Binge” f/Little Dragon – Skip.

“Cloud of Unknowing” f/Bobby Womack and sinfonia ViVA – Skip this one too.

“Pirate Jet” – B-Side at best.

Frankly:
Damon Albarn had the world in the palm of his hands with the original Gorillaz album. At the time they sounded and seemed quite revolutionary. Now they are like watching Star Wars and then watching Avatar. The music hasn’t moved and Albarn seems to be quite content with a motley crew of near has-beens.

Lifehouse “Smoke & Mirrors” review

Corporate line:
Lifehouse ended up spending a year recording upwards of thirty-five tracks before settling on the twelve songs that make up Smoke & Mirrors (many of the rest will be included on a deluxe edition). The record is loosely split between rock tracks meant to capture the feel of seeing Lifehouse live, and extremely catchy, sing-along pop songs. “That’s where the title of the album comes in,” Jason explains. “It’s about the record being half live and half studio.”

Lifehouse
Artist: Lifehouse
Title: Smoke & Mirrors
Label: Geffen
Rating: 5/10

The band also worked with American Idol alum Chris Daughtry, whom Jason met and became friends with on the road. “I haven’t done much co-writing in the past and I’m a bit leery of it,” the singer admits. “You can end up with a song that is not good and just wish you had that day of your life back (laughs) however, I went over to Chris’s place in LA and within an hour we had ‘Had Enough.'” The song, to which Daughtry contributes vocals and Richard Marx also co-wrote; is a blistering, anthemic example of the kind of music that made Lifehouse fans fall in love with the band in the first place. It belongs alongside the more traditional rock tracks on Smoke & Mirrors like “Nerve Damage” and “Wrecking Ball” (bassist Soderberg’s first lead vocal with the band), songs that capture the unparalleled feel of a Lifehouse show.

Review:
“All In” – Jason Wade always seems to be rushing towards someone or something and this song is no different. The only problem is that its not memorable except when you are listening. The best songs are memorable long after you’ve stopped listening.

“Nerve Damage” – Not the same sound you’ve come to expect from Lifehouse. It’s a bit rougher around the edges and actually reminds me a bit of Silverchair, what ever happend to them?

“Had Enough” – Wade often sounds like he is singing through gritted teeth and pushing really hard to sound like the grunge bands from yesteryear. And that is when he loses me.

“Halfway Gone” – Lifehouse is at their best when they sound like Lifehouse. That doesn’t seem to make sense.. but when you listen to this song it makes total sense.

“It Is What It Is” – Wade always seems lovelorn, the difference here is that he sounds a bit more emotional and raw. It seems to fit him better.

“From Where You Are” – This doesn’t have the raw emotions. Instead it sounds like Wade is going through the motions.

“Smoke & Mirrors” – This sounds like it could be a country song. Wade actually sounds like John Mellencamp. It’s funny, he sounds at his best right here. It’s a shame it’s not a great song.

“Falling In” – This is definitely a track that you could see being played at a high school dance and lots of young couples dedicating as “their song.”

“Wrecking Ball” – This is all wrong. Sounds cookie cutter.

“Here Tomorrow Gone Today” – This style of song doesn’t fit Lifehouse at all. Muse could get away with it, but Wade just doesn’t have the presence.

“By Your Side” – Skip it.

“In Your Skin” – You can bail on this one too.

Frankly:
At some point Wade has to find himself. This is the same thing I said about them 10 years ago, or whenver their first album came out. After hearing “Smoke & Mirrors” it seems there is hope. If Wade started to go the direction of having a more folksy, raw vocal rather than constantly trying to do that gritty singing like the grunge bands he’d be much more interesting. Instead everything is average at best.

Daniel Merriweather “Love & War” review

Corporate line:
Though Daniel Merriweather may be best known in the US as the remarkably soulful voice behind “Stop Me” (a standout track from DJ/producer Mark Ronson’s eclectic album Version that went to #1 on the UK’s airplay chart), the 27-year-old Melbourne native firmly establishes himself as a solo artist in his own right on Love & War which pulses with ’60s soul keyboards and horns, warm textures of acoustic and electric guitar, and cinematic string arrangements, all anchored by Merriweather’s combustible vocals. Love & War is also a showcase for Merriweather’s considerable songwriting talents. He wrote nearly every song on the album with various musician friends and then presented his compositions to Ronson (who produced the album) and his backing band, The Dap Kings, who also played on Amy Winehouse’s Back To Black and Ronson’s Version.

Daniel Merriweather
Artist: Daniel Merriweather
Title: Love & War
Label: J Records
Rating: 5/10

Tracks:
“For Your Money” – Merriweather has a wonderful voice that seems to get lost in the echoing music that surrounds him like a shower curtain. Regardless, Merriweather pushes through and gets the most out of a good song.

“Impossible” – Sure, it sounds like a Motown song–all except Merriweather’s attempt at being the soul of Smokey Robinson.

“Change” – This is more nu-soul and seems to fit Merriweather a lot better than the tracks that are pure attempts at rewriting the Motown songbook.

“Chainsaw” – Cliche and lacking anything soulful.

“Cigarettes” – If country music ever needed a soul singer Merriweather would fit the bill, sort of, consider no one in Nashville would give him a second listen. Motown? If this was the first song they heard they might bail too.

“Red” – Merriweather tries to turn coal into a diamond. Too bad his voice is bigger than the generic lyrics.

“Could You” – The attempt at ripping off “California Dreamin” is just painful. Why not just cover the original rather than chopping up and hacking to death the original? It’s just painful.

“Not Giving Up” – Skip it.

“Getting Out” – Skip it.

“Water and a Flame” f/Adele – Adele steals Merriweather’s thunder. Wow. She is amazing. Too bad he didn’t just hand the entire song over to her. She proves why she is such a huge star. Merriweather tries to manage, but he can’t get the power back.

“Live By Night” – Painful.

“Give Everything Away for Free” – It’s pretty, but is lacking a hook that makes you want to sing it over and over again.

“The Children” – Didn’t Michael Jackson make 50 songs like this? 49 of which weren’t much better.

Frankly:
Daniel Merriweather tries really hard to do what Oasis did. Oasis took the elements of the Beatles and revamped them and stole the best pieces for their own songs. Merriweather tries to do the same with Motown. The difference is that Oasis actually wrote songs worth of being classics. Merriweather doesn’t have one track that could sit side-by-side with any great Motown hit.

Katharine McPhee “Unbroken” review

Katharine McPhee
Artist: Katharine McPhee
Title: Unbroken
Label: Verve
Rating: 4/10

Corporate line: Katharine McPhee warmly laughs as she confesses she’s been in “artistic hiding” for the last few years. “It took me a long time to figure out where I wanted to go and be as an artist,” she says. “I needed time to learn who I was as a musician.” Once she discovered the answer, however, her path was sure and swift. On Unbroken, her Verve Records debut, listeners will discover a glorious side of McPhee previously untapped. Poignant, vital lyrics swell over full, lush melodies.

The review:
“It’s Not Right” -Boring and without soul.

“Had It All” – The single is weak. McPhee is just singing whatever someone put in front of her and has no connection at all with this song.If she does it sure doesn’t come through here.

“Keep Drivin'” – Sounds like an attempt to move into Carrie Underwood territory. The problem is that Underwood is 10 and McPhee is a 5. McPhee does nothing to knock this out of the park.

“Last Letter” – Ditto the previous tracks.

“Surrender” – McPhee is sleeping walking through this track.

“Terrified” f/Jason Reeves – The Kara DioGuardi track was written to be a big pop song and McPhee makes a go at it. It’s the best song on the album. But it isn’t great. Kara should have held this for someone else.

“How” – There seems to be a bit of life in McPhee–oddly they held this track until the seven spot. Why?

“Say Goodbye” – A ballad without a heart.

“Faultline” and “Anybody’s Heart” and “Lifetime” and “Unbroken” are boring.

Frankly: It sounds as if Katharine McPhee doesn’t sound like she even cares. It sounds like she showed up at the studio for a couple of days and tried to knock out a few tunes. The songs are without any soul and that makes it nearly impossible to fall in love with.

Watch the video for “Had It All”:

Lady Gaga “The Fame Monster” review

Lady Gaga
Artist: Lady Gaga
Title: The Fame Monster
Label: Interscope
Rating: 6.5/10

Corporate line:
“The Fame Monster,” in three different versions – a standard version of the new 8-song album; a deluxe version which includes both The Fame Monster and her massively successful debut album The Fame; and this collector’s edition super-deluxe art book version, which includes both albums, fanzines, 3-D glasses, paper dolls, a puzzle, pictorials, a lock of Lady Gaga’s hair and other surprises.

Chat about Lady Gaga on our Community Message Board.

Says Lady Gaga, “In the midst of my creative journey composing The Fame Monster, there came an exciting revelation that this was in fact my sophomore album. I would not add, nor take away any songs from this EP, it is a complete conceptual and musical body of work that can stand on its own two feet. It doesn’t need The Fame.”

“We may have an economy, but music has no economy. I will release four or more singles from “The Fame Monster,” tour the world with The Monster Ball Tour, and most importantly I insist on honoring my fans with an affordable new album, an album that is as loyal to them, as they have been me.”

“For those who do not have my debut album, there are a series of collectible double-disc editions that include both albums and artwork conceived by the Haus of Gaga in collaboration with our mentor Hedi Slimane. Hear the music, see the show, live and love yourself…Lady Gaga.”

The review:
Finally a personality has come along to unseat the beyond-her-prime Madonna. That is a good thing. But will it last? It’s obvious that the record label wants to milk every penny out of her current fame obviously nervous that it may not last. So we get “The Fame Monster,” unleashed upon us like Gaga has unleashed an epic that we need to enjoy more a second time.

The album is like the previous release–up and down. There are some good tracks and some that are lucky to be average. Yes, “Poker Face” is there; still alive and kicking. And yes, it is impossible to not sing along. “The Fame Monster” extra tracks are an additional eight songs, but there are more that could have been added. In reality, this should have been a proper album–which indicates something–the eight new songs were not deemed good enough for “The Fame.” That doesn’t mean every song stinks. “Bad Romance” and “Dance in the Dark” could have been held for a full release and settled in nicely on the pop-ten charts.

Gaga shows her true colors and how much she prides herself as a Madonna cast-off. “Dance in the Dark” is taken right from Madonna’s song book. “So Happy I Could Die” is all about loving herself–and no one else. Gaga is happy to tell us that she is the most important person in the world. “Teeth” is about being tied up–anyone recall Madonna’s “Truth or Dare”?

“The Fame Monster” is purely materialistic. Would you expect anything else from Lady Gaga? It would be difficult to take Gaga seriously at this point. When she tries to sound like there is a heart in there it rings hollow–just listen to “Speechless.” Lady Gaga has her place in music. She brings back fun to music even if it is shallow and pointless.

Robin Thicke “Sex Therapy: The Session” review

Robin Thicke
Artist: Robin Thicke
Title: Sex Therapy
Label: Interscope
Rating: 7/10

Corporate line:
The fourth album from the Grammy Award-winning R&B/Pop singer, songwriter and producer. While he has achieved success with his own solo albums, he has also achieved great success as a songwriter and producer with artists like Usher, Lil Wayne and Jennifer Hudson.

Song reviews:
“Mrs. Sexy” – The solid soul track that Thicke specializes in–falsetto is in full effect.

“Sex Therapy” – Thicke doesn’t wait–he likes to cut to the chase. He’s making music for making love and its apparent he has no patience for beating around the bush.

“Meiple” f/Jay-Z – Climbing and climbing until the final climax during the chorus where Thicke sings, “I know you wanna” only to be answered by a climaxing woman. The song is fun, its just not orgasmic good.

“Make U Love Me” – Not bad.

“It’s In The Mornin'” f/Snoop Dogg – Again, Thicke doesn’t even try to hint about sex. He just throws it out there with the kitchen sink. There is something to be said about hinting, because there is something oddly crude even with a voice soaring at unknown octaves.

“Shakin’ it 4 Daddy” – “She’s shakin’ it for daddy, she’s shakin’ it for me” is just a bit too addictive. It’s the one song that actually makes you sing along.

“Elevatas” f/Kid Cudi – There are highs and lows. The high points are when Thicke gets into full falsetto–the rest is weak by his standards.

“Rollacoasta” f/Estelle – This could have been left behind. It’s too simple and boring.

“Million Dollar Baby” f/Jazmine Sullivan – Thicke gets deep into the ’70s and burns bright through this song.

“2 Luv Birds” – It took this far into the album to get to a ballad. It doesn’t really seem worth the wait.

“Jus Right” – Soft, tender and too weak right in the soul.

“Diamonds” f/Game – This could have settled in just right on the Michael Jackson “Off The Wall” album.

Frankly:
Robin Thicke has his style and you either love or hate him. After a few listens it still takes some time to decide which direction to go. Thicke has skills and his vocals are always on point, however he doesn’t seem to have a lot of personality on “Sex Therapy: The Session.” Everyone wants to compare him to Justin Timberlake, but there is one thing Timberlake doesn’t lack–personality. Thicke might have more soul–but his personality doesn’t always shine on this album like it did on Timberlake’s “FutureSex/LoveSounds.”

“Sex Therapy” video:

Alicia Keys “The Element of Freedom” review

Alicia Keys - The Element of Freedom
Artist: Alicia Keys
Title: The Element of Freedom
Label: J-Records
Rating: 6/10

Corporate line:
12 time Grammy Award winner Alicia Keys returns with her 4th studio album The Element Of Freedom on December 15. Alicia has sold over 26 million albums worldwide and over 6.7 million digital tracks in the US. Featuring the hits “Doesn’t Mean Anything” and “Try Sleeping With A Broken Heart”, The Element Of Freedom promises to be one of Alicia Keys biggest releases to date.

Song reviews:
“Love Is Blind” – Keys goes for an epic that sounds like a riff off Kanye West’s “808s and Heartbreaks” without the baggage.

“Doesn’t Mean Anything” – There is something whiny in Keys’ voice that leaves the verses flat and the chorus is too monotnonous to enjoy.

“Try Sleeping with a Broken Heart” – Keys taps her inner Prince and really nails it. Its interesting when the verses seem to outshine the chorus.

“Wait Til You See My Smile” – Pretty, but not really much here to write about. It’s simply average for an artist like Keys.

“That’s How Strong My Love Is” – Keys again seems to be just getting by trying to let her talent push average songs to something better than they are–but it doesn’t work. No matter the talent level, average is average.

“Un-thinkable (I’m Ready)” – Ditto the previous two songs.

“Love Is My Disease” – Keys gets raw and emotional like she fails to do on most of the album. It’s easy to tell when she feels it and when she doesn’t. This is the soul that Keys should be bringing each and every moment.

“Like the Sea” – Just skip this. It’s filler of the most boring kind. Keys is just phoning it in. It’s sad.

“Put It in a Love Song” featuring Beyoncé – Even if you can put up with the pathetic opening line “Hey, yo B. What up A?”–you’ll find Beyonce stealing the thunder from Keys. Beyonce saves the day on what turns out to be an unbelievably cheesy track with the depth of a Hannah Montana episode.

“This Bed” – Hard to tell what Keys was going for on this track. No matter what the aim, it missed the target but a mile.

“Distance and Time” – Skip it.

“How It Feels to Fly” – Another bummer.

“Empire State of Mind (Part II) Broken Down” f/Jay-Z – Thank God for Jay-Z who comes along to save you from an Alicia Keys coma. If you need to download just one song from the album this would be it. The bad news is that its Jay-Z not Keys that is worth the listen.

Frankly:
Alicia Keys seems lost. “The Element of Freedom” sounds like everything but freedom. It sounds like Keys is trapped in an attempt at turning out a hit and has lost everything that made her great. “The Element of Freedom” is missing a soul and the theme doesn’t seem to be alive from one track to another. The lack of cohesion hurts and frankly, this is average at best. Keys is too good for this type of album. Maybe next time.

Thirty Seconds to Mars “This Is War” review

Corporate line: Thirty Seconds To Mars bring you their third album, This Is War produced by Flood (U2, Depeche Mode, Nine Inch Nails and Smashing Pumpkins)Steve Lillywhite (The Rolling Stones, U2) and Thirty Seconds To Mars, a follow-up to the bands’ hit album, A Beautiful Lie. In an innovative and exciting move, Thirty Seconds to Mars, This Is War, will have 2000 different album covers featuring individual photos of fans from around the world as well as the hit single, Kings and Queens.

Thirty Seconds to Mars
Artist: Thirty Seconds to Mars
Title: This Is War
Label: Virgin
Rating: 4/10

Track by track review:
“Escape” — Is this a song? What, an epic 20 seconds of Trent Reznor-wanna-being?
“Night of the Hunter” — It’s really hard to like the vocals that sound like Leto is whispering so that no one hears for most of the verse. Then the chorus, when Leto does start to sing your already beyond caring. It’s a bad Duran Duran meets My Chemical Romance attempt.
“Kings and Queens” — Leto gains a bit more credibility with “Kings and Queens” but its really nothing new–nothing that he hasn’t heard coming from the likes of U2.
“This is War” — Is this the true Thirty Seconds to Mars?
“100 Suns” — Leto believes in nothing, because he tells you so a hundred or more times.
“Hurricane” — I’m tired of listening to the same exact songs.
“Closer to the Edge” — A bit more sappy, but a bit more interesting if for no other reason than it seems to sound more like themselves and almost sounds like it could be a hit.
“Vox Populi” — The open chorus full of either children or teens or whatever singing “This is a battle song, brothers and sisters; it’s time to go to war” echoes Pink Floyd only in that refrain as the rest rips its heart and musical soul from U2.
“Search and Destroy” — Trent Reznor called and he wants his formula back.
“Alibi” — This is slow and monotonous.
“Stranger in a Strange Land” — Wait, this isn’t Iron Maiden? Boo.
“L490” — An instrumental piece. Could have been left behind.

Frankly: Thirty Seconds to Mars is boring. I hate to call it so bluntly, but there is nothing grand here. Nothing fresh. Nothing new. Nothing worth reaching out for a second time.

Watch the video for “Kings and Queens”

Thirty Seconds To Mars – Kings + Queens – HD

Chris Brown “Graffiti” review

Chris Brown
Artist: Chris Brown
Title: Graffiti
Label: Jive
Rating: 4/10

Corporate line:Preparing for his 2009 release Graffiti, Chris Brown has crossed the threshold from teenager to young man. Experiencing the growing pains, challenges, loves and losses of the past year, Chris has found his way as an artist. While creating his own distinct sound, he has put together a body of work that captures the many dimensions of youth: lost love, disappointment and self discovery counterbalanced with swagger, ambition and partying. Graffiti represents the gateway to Chris’ next chapter as an artist and young adult.

Review:
From go you get Lil Wayne spewing nonsense about Optimus Prime and Chris Brown trying to bring cohesion, but they don’t mix. The over the top Swizz Beatz try to carry it along but its the same sort of mess you get these days when R&B and Hip-hop crash head-on.

There are plenty of points where Brown attempts to apologize. But its too little too late when “Crawl” opens with: “So where do we go from here/ With all of this fear in your eyes?” Same goes for “So Cold” which goes on and on about Brown’s misery of being alone. It’s really hard to believe because he follows this up with “What I Do” singing about “the cars, the gals and the cribs.” Life must really be tough for Mr. Brown. More money, more problems it seems. And then the bottom drops out as Brown blames Rihanna outright on “Famous Girl” when he sings about her cheating on him first: “I don’t wear no halo/You were the first to play the game though.. Should’ve known you’d break my heart.”

Again, Brown goes from deep to shallow. “Take My Time” is the opposite of the guy who is wallowing in self-pity as he sings about “kissing and licking on you everywhere” with a female voice in the background in a sexual manner. The backend of the album “I.Y.A.,” “Pass Out,” and “Wait” are mindless tracks to bang in the club.

“Graffiti” tries to end with Brown playing the role of the victim. “Lucky Me” and “Fallin’ Down” would appear to make you feel that Chris Brown is to be pitied becuase he is breaking down. But seriously, he brought it on himself, so are we supposed to feel bad? He wants us to feel bad because he is a celebrity when he asks: “Why is it so easy for you to blame/I’m only human, we’re all the same.” Honestly, Brown’s arrogance makes it nearly impossible to take him seriously or enjoy music from someone who’s arrogance and lack of self-consciousness is intolerable.

Susan Boyle “I Dreamed a Dream” review

Susan Boyle I dreamed a dream
Artist: Susan Boyle
Title: I Dreamed a Dream
Label: Sony
Rating: 6/10

Corporate line: She captured the hearts of millions and became a worldwide YouTube phenomenon with over 300 million hits. An inspiration for those who have a dream, the talented Susan Boyle presents her stunning debut album. Susan surprised the world with her powerful, heart stopping voice when she walked onto the Britain’s Got Talent stage. Now with a beautiful and diverse album she will, once again, defy preconceptions. I Dreamed a Dream, the album, crafted by world acclaimed producer Steve Mac, demonstrates Susan Boyle’s extensive musical ability. Featuring her signature songs, `I Dreamed a Dream’ & `Cry me a River’ the album also includes a haunting rendition of Rolling Stones “Wild Horses”, Madonna’s `You’ll See, The Monkees `Daydream Believer’ and “Who I Was Born To Be” an original recording written specially for Susan. Susan enthused; “It was my greatest ambition to release an album and I have finally achieved it. This amazing journey has helped me find my own identity and fulfill my wish. There is happiness out there for everyone who dares to dream.”

Review:
1. Wild Horses – If this take on the Rolling Stones’ classic doesn’t give you goosebumps then you must be missing a soul. [8/10]

2. I Dreamed A Dream – This is the rendition that captured the world and took their collective breathe away. What can you say–it’s beautiful. [8/10]

3. Cry Me A River – Boyle does manage to pull off a good rendition. [7/10]

4. How Great Thou Art – This surely stoked much pride in her native Britain. [6/10]

5. You’ll See – Boyle’s take on Madonna is actually shocking. Frankly, if Madonna was this good of a singer she’d be a bigger star than she is–imagine that. [7/10]

6. Daydream Believer – Unfortunately this is amazingly pedestrian and hokey. [2/10]

7. Up To The Mountain – Although Boyle can hit all the notes and pulls it off–there seems to be a lack of soul. It sounds like Boyle is simply going through the motions. [6/10]

8. Amazing Grace – Done nicely–but there are a million versions out there and Boyle doesn’t do much with it. [6/10]

9. Who I Was Born To Be – Simply beautiful. It’s far more touching than many of the other tracks. Boyle doesn’t sound like she is going through the motions. [8/10]

10. Proud – Filler. [5/10]

11. The End Of The World – This is boring. It’s missing something right in the middle. [5/10]

12. Silent Night – Certain to be a holiday staple. [8/10]

Frankly: Sadly this album was overrated. The problem is that Susan Boyle was rushed to get an album out before Christmas and with that came nothing but a cover album. Surely Susan Boyle will be printing money with the sales of “I Dreamed a Dream” but its to bad there is nothing original. At some point it’ll be interesting to hear Boyle’s own voice.