Idolator Record-Review Review: Critics Give Taylor Hicks The Runaround

Dec 18th, 2006 // 1 Comment

hicks.jpgTaylor Hicks isn’t a lock for the No. 1 slot on this week’s Billboard 200–early reports have him battling it out with Young Jeezy and the unkillable Hannah Montana for the chart’s top spot, which surprises us, because we thought the Idol-winner juggernaut would result in his self-titled debut being a lock for No. 1. Could the lukewarm advance word on his album have affected his first-week tallies?

- “Naturally Mr. Hicks acknowledges influences like Ray Charles and Marvin Gaye (and implicitly Michael McDonald). But his stated predilection for old-school soul doesn’t find an outlet, except maybe on “Soul Thing,” one of two likeably lightweight originals repurposed from his last, self-released album. By contrast too much of the new stuff is competent and faceless; it might have been called radio-friendly in another time.” [NY Times]
- “Now that he’s off the Idol soundstage, his limited vocal range has never been more evident. Every time he reaches for his head voice, he sounds as if he needs to blow his nose.” [Entertainment Weekly]
- “Part of the problem with “Taylor Hicks” is clearly the time crunch of finishing an album in less than six months while on tour and maintaining a busy public schedule. But the other part of the problem is that Hicks’ keepers seem to have been trying to mold him into something he’s not.” [Indianapolis Star]
- “Hicks still has that amazing voice – somewhere between gruffness and sweetness. But the quirky appeal and fiery performance style that led him to be the unlikely king of this year’s “Idol” unfortunately is in rare supply in his overproduced, self-titled debut.” [AP]

  1. Chris Molanphy

    Random thoughts:

    Re: the possibility of not topping the charts, this wouldn’t be unprecedented: Fantasia Barrino’s debut two years didn’t even make the Top Five when it debuted (or ever). It all depends on the chart competition in any given week; the Idols who do best picked a release week with a low hurdle; both Hicks and Barrino had to face heavy Christmas traffic.

    Re: “mold[ing} him into something he’s not,” alas, it was ever thus. Think Clarkson’s debut vs. the massive (and way-better) post-Idol album; or Fantasia’s new album, which is reportedly less hidebound than her Idol-approved debut. I’m not a big Hicks fan, but if he’s going to become his own man, he’s going to have to put up with The Machine for one record and then use it as a springboard to something, er…more Hicks-like.

    (This is yet another reason why Underwood, the most successful disc-seller in Idol-winner history, creeps me out: she really seems to thrive in the machine. Do they make li’l ol’ country gals in Stepford?)

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