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Accuracy • Independence • Integrity

August 17, 2017   |   Ithaca, NY

Accent

Review: ‘Idol’ country-rock album mimics past winner’s sound

Lee DeWyze, “American Idol” season nine winner, had to bounce back after releasing his first album, “Live It Up” shortly after winning the competition in 2010. In its first week on the U.S. market, the debut sold only 39,000 copies, which, according to Yahoo Music, is currently the lowest number of debut units sold for any “American Idol” winner.

But after signing with a new record label, Vanguard Records, DeWyze is now somewhat back on track with his newest release, “Frames.” Though some of the songs sound eerily similar to those of Phillip Phillips, “American Idol” season 11 winner, DeWyze manages to put country and pop spins on many of the tracks and make them his own.

The track “Don’t Be Afraid” has both the same rhythm and melody of Phillips’ “Gone, Gone, Gone.” The only real differences are the key and, of course, the lyrics. The fast-paced guitar rhythm will remind listeners of Phillips’ song within seconds of hearing it.

While most of the songs at the beginning of the album have a Phillips and Mumford & Sons vibe, it’s toward the middle of the album where listeners get a taste of what DeWyze really has to offer, and where the most note-worthy tracks lie. “You Don’t Know Me” and “The Ride” add a soulful sound to the album, especially with the piano as the dominant instrument rather than guitar or mandolin, creating an almost entirely new sound. DeWyze also uses pop-infused riffs to showcase his voice, which won America’s biggest singing competition.

DeWyze’s album contains mostly solid songs, though the similarities to Phillips are distasteful. The record probably won’t win a Grammy Award, but audiences shouldn’t be discouraged from listening and should disregard DeWyze’s reputation.