Thursday, December 27, 2012

Album Review: The World From The Side Of The Moon

5

Of Artistic Freedom, Phillip Phillips, and Great Music

American Idol Season 11 Winner, Phillip Phillips, has recently released his debut album entitled The World From The Side Of The Moon. For an American Idol debut album, it exceeded expectations—both sales-wise and quality-wise. The thing about being an American Idol winner is that people expect you to fail. Past American Idol winners labeled as WGWG (White Guy With Guitar) were not as successful as Kelly Clarkson or Carrie Underwood. A lot of people seemed to be in an agreement that the ‘American Idol’ spark had died down. Well, not until Scotty McCreery and now, Phillip Phillips were crowned as American Idol winners. Freedom has something to do with it—probably.

Before the release of Phillips’ debut album, he and the label promised an album that would stay true to his music. Well, that would require artistic freedom. True enough, Jimmy Iovine and company gave Phillip just that—the freedom to write, choose and play the music he likes and he identifies with. However, doubters remain doubters until the release of The World From The Side Of The Moon. The reviews came out and most of them have been positive, hailing the album as one of the best American Idol album debuts. Many would thank the most successful American Idol Winner Single, HOME for Phillip’s success but most would agree that the album itself is compelling enough to say that this kid has a great future ahead of him.

Having written and co-written majority of the songs in his album, there is no doubt Phillip Phillips is an artist to look up to—now and in the years to come. The comparisons with Dave Matthews and Mumford and Sons might not die down soon enough, but Phillip has a name of his own—as an artist and a musician. There is nothing wrong with sounding like someone when there is that line between them. That line makes these artists different from each other. Phillip often says that the comparison between him and Dave Matthews or Mumford and Sons has always been a great compliment. Many would agree with him. It is a fact that everyone should learn how to accept. Every artist has experienced these comparisons and most of them has dealt and has been dealing with it their entire career. In the end, they end up being legends. Phillip Phillips could be one of them.

The World From The Side Of The Moon showcases Phillip Phillips as a singer-songwriter and a great guitar player. Here’s a track-by-track review of the album.

The first track on the album, ‘Man on the Moon’, is a song written solely by Phillip. Apparently, the first line of the song was the inspiration behind the album title. When asked about that line, Phillip said it was the way he viewed himself after winning American Idol. Hence, it has something to do with the success he has been blessed with. The Phillip Phillips vibe is clearly in this song. It is also a great song to perform live.

'Home’ is the second track from the album and his first single. The song is the most successful American Idol Winner’s Single ever. As of today, it has been certified double platinum by the RIAA selling 2 million copies and counting. It is predicted to hit the 3 million mark and be certified triple platinum. Written by Drew Pearson and Greg Holden, ‘Home’ captures what is now known as the Folk Americana music. The song is inspiring and can be identified with Phillip’s folksy and indie side.

As a follow-up to Home, ‘Gone, Gone, Gone’ will be a strong second single for the album. It is set to be released as a single next year and it will be huge, huge, huge. The catchy chorus has become a great hook. The ‘beat of the drum’ is beautiful. It definitely grows on you the more you listen. This track was written by Derek Fuhrman, Todd Clark and Greg Wattenberg. This is a love song which is not cheesy. And, that’s great!

Of all the songs in the album, ‘Hold On’ is the song that has powerful words—not too wordy, but powerful. This is a song Phillip Phillips wrote and it shows how good a songwriter he is. ‘I fall into a sacred rage of escape/ The hells of the world made of puppets and fake’—a deep and dark song yet inspiring piece of music! Further, Phillip shows his range in this song—one which some people fail to recognize in spite of his beautiful rendition of Dave Matthews Band’s The Stone. The range he has shown in this song was reminiscent of that studio recording.

Tell Me A Story’ is said to be Phillip’s favorite song off the album. He co-wrote this song with David Ryan Harris. Like Hold On, this song shows how a great songwriter Phillip is. People can relate to this song. It is full of hope and inspiration. ‘Hope is just a ray of what everyone should see/ Alone is the street where you found me’ and ‘Scared of what’s behind you/ Scared of what’s in front of you/ Live with what you have now and make the best of what’s to come. He sure can write what people think, feel and can relate to.

If you want the groovy and funky side of Phillip, this song is for you. ‘Get Up Get Down’ would definitely remind you of Dave Matthews Band—in a good way. Everything Dave Matthews-esque Phillip does is as natural as him walking. This song will sound great live. Imagine the crowd dancing and cheering in a stadium. It is a fun song to follow the mellow Tell Me A Story.

Where We Came From’ has a catchy chorus. It’s rhythmic and melodic at the same time. Phillip has always been known to not sing the melody, but in this album, he proves that he can. You can be rhythmic (verses) and melodic (choruses) as an artist—it’s just a matter of when and how. Laid-back Phillip!

Similar to ‘Get Up Get Down’, ‘Drive Me’ brings the groove and the funk. Some would put it as ‘sexy’. Well, it is. You can just imagine the ladies swoon when he sings this live. The horn, the drums, the guitars and every instrument you hear simply fit the song. It will drive your crazy.

‘Wanted Is Love’ has an amazing intro. The strings perfectly suit the song. The song would not be complete without it, unless, of course, he comes up with a great live version of this song. This one has the ‘rock’ feel—dark, deep and beautiful. Again, Phillip shows his range in this song. Another awesome song solely written by Phillip.

Phillip goes country with ‘Can’t Go Wrong’. The verses are as awesome as the chorus (or, even better). This is another song which could be huge when sang live. You can see and hear people singing-a-long live by simply listening to it. Phillip co-wrote this song with ‘Home’ masters Greg Holden and Drew Pearson.

‘A Fools Dance’ is another dark sounding song written by Phillip. Although it is one of the least mainstream songs on the album, it is one of the best. From the lyrics to music, it is impossible for someone not to love the song. It’s dark, but magical.

Finally, ‘So Easy’. This song is probably the most pop of all songs in the album. The chorus just gave it away. Although it is too pop for some, it is (quoting American Idol judges) a ‘breath of fresh air’.

As to the bonus tracks, two songs Phillip wrote (one with his girlfriend, Hannah Blackwell entitled ‘Take Me Away’) way before American Idol which have been loved by his fans made the cut in two different deluxe editions. These songs have shown how he has been true to himself as an artist. Both are simply beautiful. Oh, Hazel is a lovely song. Phillip’s version of ‘Wicked Game’ is brilliant. Also, he has a cool version of ‘Thriller’—the song that he sang during his American Idol audition.

Taking these things into account, ‘The World From The Side Of The Moon’ has indeed exceeded expectations. The album debuted at #4 on Billboard 200 and topped the Rock Albums Charts and iTunes Album Charts.

Congratulations, Phillip Phillips!

Rating: 4/5

If you have not purchased the album yet, please do so!

5 comments:

  1. So beautifully and sincerely written!! I love it! And yes! Got to admire this heck of a musician. He really is great.

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    1. And I love the new look of the blog. haha so red!!

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    2. Haha! In time for the New Year! I am not yet sure if I will stick with the color scheme. Hehe! Still thinkin' about it.

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  2. UPDATE: 'HOME' has gone triple platinum, selling over three million copies! :) Yay Phillip!

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