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BurberryAiken's CDD | Home & News

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Tuesday, May 06, 2008

On My Way Here: ... and the Reviews Pour In

Well, it's the morning of release day and reviews of the new CD are coming in! This post will be updated throughout the day with new reviews as they are posted.

  • (University of Denver) -
    In his fourth studio release, titled On My Way Here, Clay Aiken continues to impress listeners with a soothing voice, sweet lyrics and overall solid songs. Albums like this make it clear why the former runner-up of American Idol is still putting out records - he's talented.


    "Where I Draw The Line" is clearly the best track off the album although each one is worth more than one listen. "The Real Me," written by Natalie Grant but sung by Aiken, also adds to the album as a whole.

    On My Way Here is filled with easy-listening songs. Whether you're a Claymate or not, his newest effort is definitely worth a listen.
  • Washington Post - Aiken finds his 'way'
    Of all the "American Idol" contestants, Clay Aiken has always been the most suspiciously pliable. His post-"Idol" debut was a respectable prefab adult contemporary collection, but he stumbled hard with its official follow-up, "A Thousand Different Ways," a collection of the-record-company-made-me-do-it covers of Bryan Adams and Mr. Mister songs (among others) so flawlessly bad, so devoid of personality, it's hard to imagine that Kelly Clarkson would have consented to record such a thing on her first day off the bus.

    Like Neil Diamond (whose latest album, "Home Before Dark," also arrives today), Aiken intends his new disc, "On My Way Here," to be a career-defining work of autobiography. Aiken's whiz-bang team of producers and songwriters has crafted a declaration of independence that sounds a lot like the one created by the producers and songwriters of his first disc. But it's better, and livelier, than anything else he's done, a baseline adult contemporary album that occasionally expands to include synthy R&B ("Weight of the World"), lite rock ("Ashes") and hooky pop (the title track, written by OneRepublic singer Ryan Tedder).

    Aiken has always seemed more interesting than his material and his public would allow for: beatific in voice, prickly in personality. At its best, "On My Way Here" is a recessive blend of sweetness, piety, confusion and barely concealed resentment that occasionally, if unintentionally, bares its teeth. The subtext of every song seems to be, How did I wind up here? Or, alternately, What do you want from me?


    Clay Aiken could probably sing the heck out of it, if given half the chance.
  • New York Daily Post is entitled to their opinion, but we complete disagree with this review:
    He may have warbled before millions on "American Idol," wrangled his mug onto scores of magazine covers and racked up a wall of platinum albums, but what do we really know about Clay Aiken?


    Now comes "On My Way Here," Aiken's first album on which he had the chance to use writers who could capture his life during the five dense years since he achieved stardom. Given that mandate, you'd expect the songs to plum below the surface of Aiken and express his soul.


    What remains rare, and interesting, about Aiken is his persona. He may be modern pop's last chaste man. Aiken sings, floridly, of romance, but never of anything that would make you think of sex. There's just one reference to a bed here, and it arrives only when Aiken orders someone out of it.

    Most of the songs Aiken chose present him as a lonely and longing figure, a role meant to make him even more sympathetic to a certain sect. Essentially, they're the latter-day equivalents to those who clung to "The Lawrence Welk Show" long after it lost its cultural resonance in the late '60s. To those folks - the last ostriches of the sexual revolution - Aiken remains an island of sanity, a final bastion of proud, neutered uncool. That, more than anything in his music, gives Aiken his dire place.
  • Dallas Fort-Worth Star Telegram -
    Aiken encore

    His career has veered from adored preteen pinup to something more in line with a Barry Manilow-in-training (just, y'know, minus the songwriting ability and natural charisma). His stint in Broadway's Spamalot is concluding just as he gears up to release On My Way Here, his first album of all original material in five years.

    It will come as no surprise that the disc nearly drowns in a flood of saccharine sentiment deep enough to engulf all of Texas; the title track (also the disc's lead single) was co-written by OneRepublic's Ryan Tedder, who's quickly morphing into the Richard Marx of his generation, incapable of rendering emotion without swooning all over it. Neither it nor any other tracks are helped by Aiken's voice, still a soaring, warbly instrument that for some of us is a means of torture.


    On My Way Here

    ** out of 5 stars


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