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Review: Allison Iraheta and the Idol curse

Alllisoncd Allison Iraheta, Just Like You (19/Jive, 2.5 stars)

On American Idol this year, teenager Allison Iraheta sang if she mainlined cigarettes for decades and revealed herself as one of the most credible rockers to sing on the Idol stage. Of course, there is not much competition for that title, some people actually think David Cook is a rock artist. Heck, lil' dynamo Allison could have excelled on CBS' defunct Rock Star a few years back. (We hear Aerosmith wants a new singer...)

I was thrilled that Iraheta, though cut in fourth place behind the banal Danny Gokey, managed to secure a fast record deal at the same time as winner Kris Allen and runnerup Adam Lambert. But Just Like You, the resulting album, strips Iraheta of her personality in favor of off-the-shelf songwriting and overproduction.

There are moments. D Is for Dangerous is a kicky rocker and Scars is a heartfelt ballad.

Beat Me Up has the biggest hook yet could foster a backlash in the wake of Rihanna for lines in which Iraheta's addicted to a relationship so much she'll welcome mistreatment. But the teen probably means it the same way pre-disaster Britney meant ... Baby One More Time 10 years ago. The only drawback is that once Beat Me Up cranks out a classic rock guitar riff at the end, producers cut it off way too soon as if its editing was done by broadaxe. Audious interruptus. We can take a few more bars of rock guitar, peeps.

Just Like You suffers from the fate of 99.9 percent of first albums from Idols. Producers and songwriters all come from the same pen so the star isn't the singer but the studio personnel and every hint of personality is leeched from the performer. Iraheta could be Kelly Clarkson-Pink-Avril Lavigne, here -- seemingly anyone but the gifted Allison Iraheta who really earned that recording contract. Given her prodigious talent, that's a dirty shame.

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Comments

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Owen

I love rock music and this album is 90% great pop/rock-- not sure what you are expecting from a 17 yr old starting out in the business tbh.
After a few listens of the live stream I would give this a fair 4.5/5-- it is very (VERY) good.

and I'm not easily pleased!

JohnM

Not sure what album you listened to, because this one is surprisingly good, with Allison's gorgeous tone and delivery evident all over the place. I expected Jive to suck her personality out of the record, and am amazed that they hardly did that at all.

Of course all post-Idol debuts are overproduced (though fortunately, Kris Allen seems to have avoided that almost entirely), but this one's overproduction avoided stepping on Allison's voice with only a couple of exceptions. A really admirable album, with lots of quintessentially to-die-for Allison moments.

It's obvious that you appreciate Allison's incredible talent, so I'm sorry that you don't hear it here.

Oh, and about David Cook being a rock artist -- I guess you must be one of those people who believe that the only music that qualifies as rock is the ridiculously tiny subset of rock that's allowed on so-called "rock radio". *Of course* David Cook is a rock artist.

therealdbuck

I truly believe Allison's first CD will do pretty well. Personally, she doesn't remind me of Avril Lavigne at all. She does remind me of Kelly Clarkson & Pink. But, Allison also has a very versital side to her because she reminds me of some of the older female artists like Pat Benatar, Lita Ford, & Janis Joplin. She may not end up being the most successful American Idol contestant ever, but I firmly believe she will be one of the top 5 to 10 American Idol artists of all time. She is mega talented. I'm really drawn to her style, talent, & personality. She is & will be my favorite American Idol contestant of all time & she may very well be or end up one of my very favorite artist ever.

Annie

What I witnessed last night was 100% rock and pure fun.

Lance

In my 38 years of buying records I have found very few that I can play starting with song 1 through the last without wanting to skip at least a few of the tracks. When I play "Just Like You" I find it very enjoyable from the first song to the last, this without my wanting to find the remote to skip even one of the tracks. This is a fantastic album. Taking in account she is only 17 makes it even more remarkable.

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