Katharine McPhee – Katharine McPhee
RCA Records (released 1/30/07)
Katharine McPhee was the very reason I am now hooked on American Idol in the first place. The twenty-two-year-old had the voice, the look and the personality that guaranteed her to get a record contract, whether she won or not (she didn’t). I was one of the many fans eagerly awaiting her self-titled debut album, expecting it to be Katharine showing her vocal strengths and championing instant success based on her popularity on the show, similar to Kelly Clarkson’s success. But this album is pretty bad, and it pains me to say it… because McPhee is incredible.
This album is filled with music industry politics that can wreck the best of talent; the song choices seem to cater to the 14-year-old teenage girl demographic, while trying to be Whitney Houston and Fergie in dress-up. It’s almost like men sat in a boardroom and decided this would be McPhee’s debut album, with 14-year-olds in mindâ€”almost every song is about being in a relationship with boys. My major problem with this effort is that it doesn’t seem to really challenge McPhee as a artist, or feel like an album that is enough like her for it to bear her name. Some of her “fun” songs are fine (an ode to Gwen Stefani perhaps) but borderline ridiculous, and “Open Toes”, without a doubt, is one of the worst songs I’ve ever heard. However, when McPhee steps back and sings without a lot of musical junk around it, like “Ordinary World” and “Better Off Alone” she is in her element.
“Over It” is her first single, which is getting scattered-and-growing airplay, and was a good choice to be released to top 40 radio. This is one of her better songs on the album, and should be more of the flavor McPhee goes for in the future.
I would like to see Katharine McPhee experiment with music again the futureâ€”maybe study Toby Lightman’s latest album to hear what a strong, diverse album sounds likeâ€”and lose the lackluster lyrics that won’t get played on radio even if this album is catering to top 40. Don’t close the book on McPhee, because she has the talent to last, just forget about this debut when you buy her next album.