Randy Jackson’s Music Club, Volume One
Concord Records/Dream Merchant 21 (03/11/08)
Pop / R&B / Rock / Country
If you can ignore the cheesy album cover, Randy Jackson’s Music Club, Volume One is actually “pretty good, dawg.” Most of America knows Randy Jackson now as a fun-loving American Idol judge, but he is also a Grammy-winning producer, virtuoso musician, hit songwriter and legendary A&R executive. His music industry experience is vast and Music Club Volume One is an accurate representation of what Jackson views as the formula to success in the overall current musical landscape.
Paula Abdul’s “Dance Like There’s No Tomorrow” is catchy in that traditional Paula-Abdul-dance-track fashion and is her first new song in over a decade. Maybe I’m drinking the Coca-Cola, but I think Paula still has it. Joss Stone’s “Just Walk On By” would be a solid dance/R&B hit for her and it’s great to see her chosen by Jackson as one of the stars to represent what he considers an album that has something for everyone. I would absolutely love to see Joss perform this live with some Paula choreography.
“What I Am So Afraid Of” by Trisha Covington, Keke Wyatt and Kiley Dean, is exactly what I’d expect to hear on pop radio and covered on American Idol as the go-to ballad. “Like A” represents the R&B/hip-hop party by Crunk Squad featuring Ghostface Killah. “Who’s Gonna Love You Now” has a beautiful vocal by Kellie Love and could provide some good remixes if released as a single. One of the biggest surprises was “Wang Dang Doodle”—and before you get caught up in the title, the legendary Sam Moore, Keb’ Mo and Angie Stone provide some Louisiana blues and soul that make this track a welcomed addition to a pop-heavy album. This track provides what I wish more collaborations would do—a true mentor in the music industry like Moore with the up-and-comers who honor the traditional sound with their contemporary touches.
“Something to Believe In” by Van Hunt, Jon McLaughlin and Jason Mraz is a gorgeous pop track collaboration but could have easily been performed by Constantine. The country version of “Home” with John Rich and Anthony Hamilton didn’t click with me, as I’ve heard the song interpreted before with other artists and other genres, but I can appreciate why the country music genre would attempt to embrace a version of it. However, it would have been interesting to hear either a male/female combo or two females try their country vocal styling with the track instead. I also wasn’t sold on Barbi Esco’s “My R&B”, as it seems to get lost amid the much stronger tracks on the album.
“Real Love”, with American Idol alumni Katharine McPhee and Elliott Yamin, is a strong track that certainly could stand alone on this album, as a fun hit. Their voices complement each other gorgeously and I wish Katharine had done more song choices like this instead of anything on her debut album. This song could be just enough to get music fans to give the two wayward singers another chance to be on the charts. “Willing to Try” has an Elton John song quality that I enjoyed, with a diverse trio of talent, and this could also be a strong hit, with appearances by Richie Sambora, Travis Tritt and Lucy Woodward. If there are any songs that you have to hear, both of these songs are pleasant surprises.
“I Understand” a seven-minute gospel number by Mariah Carey, Kim Burrell, Rance Allen, BeBe Winans and Hezekiah Walker’s Love Fellowship Tabernacle Church Choir may turn off some listeners who aren’t religious, but any excuse to hear Mariah sing is fine by me.
Randy Jackson’s Music Club, Volume One is a solid compilation showing the production skills that got Jackson the job as a judge on one of the most successful television series of our time, and if you’re a fan of hearing artists out of their genre, collaborations between artists and just good music of all stylings, pick up this album.
Tags: American Idol, Ghostface, Ghostface Killah, Mariah Carey, Paula Abdul, Randy Jackson