Hard to believe it’s been three years since we watched Elliott Yamin on American Idol. He started season five flying just under the radar but soared to a third place finish, capturing more than his share of hearts, including mine, with his soulful tones and expressive delivery. He impressed even the most cynical of judges, Simon Cowell, who called him a “vocal masterclass.”
His first post-Idol album (self-titled) was met with critical acclaim and commercial success, reaching gold status and hitting number three on Billboard‘s Independent Artist chart. His follow-up, Fight For Love, hits streets May 5 and by every right should achieve the same success, if not reach new heights.
For long time fans, there are no surprises on this album, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t innovative. The sound — ambient and bluesy — is what Yamin is known for, but by no means do the twelve tracks blend to a single sound. Each represents and shows something new. They may or may not reflect a personal side or emotions coming straight from his heart, but his delivery convinces you every song is a private secret he’s sharing with the listener.
The first single from the album is also the title track. The video (seen above) was directed by Nick Spanos, known for his work with Madonna, Alanis Morissette, and Paul Oakenfold, and does a wonderful job of matching the images with the mood of the music. Soft, with light muted colors is the perfect visual descriptor for the easy-pop sound of this song and, for the most part, the entire album.
One of the minor shifts comes from the song “You.” From the first notes, the warmth is gone and as soon as his voice joins we know we are in a desolate, lonely place. A broken heart is the theme, and we understand and feel the pain, not only in the lyrics and their delivery but in the instrumentation. “Cold Heart” shifts gears again. This upbeat number has a funky attitude that makes the listener want to get up and dance, or maybe strut, as Yamin delivers the matter-of-fact message.
Since receiving the album over the weekend it has taken many spins in my player. With each listen I hear different nuances and grow more attached to each song. There may be no surprises or curve balls on Fight for Love, but what it does have is heartfelt, blues-tinged pop. Songs that not only appeal, but have staying power, at least on one of my iPod playlists.
For his many fans, this album will be like inviting an old friend in for a cozy chat by the fire. If you have not given his music a good listen and are into the soft, R&B tainted pop, then you will want to pick up Fight for Love. News and information can be found at his official website and his MySpace page. The artist also has his own Youtube page and you can follow him on twitter.
Maybe Elliott Yamin finished third during his season of American Idol but Fight For Love is certainly a blue-ribbon contender.
1. Let Love Be
2. Know Better
3. Fight for Love
5. Can’t Keep on Loving You
6. Don’t be Afraid
7. You Say
8. Apart From Me
9. Cold Heart
10. How Do I Know
11. This Step Alone