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The Daily Wildcat

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    CD Review: Katharine McPhee – Unbroken

    CD Review: Katharine McPhee - Unbroken

    Katharine McPhee




    The Verve Music Group


    Released January 2009

    One of the first CDs of the year from The Verve Music Group (the record label behind John Coltrane, Herbie Hancock and Jamie Cullum), Katharine McPhee’s sophomore album, Unbroken, is a compilation of songs riddled with slow beats and unremarkable melodies.

    Though Unbroken is not unpleasant background noise, much like the buzz from a refrigerator, the uniformity between tracks, constricted vocal range and play-it-safe melodies make one wonder if this is really the same McPhee who sent shivers down the line of veteran judges on season five of “”American Idol.””

    The girl who shined with “”God Bless the Child”” seems to have bleached her album into blandness to match her new ‘do. Her cover of Melanie Safka’s “”Brand New Key”” is like a pair of jeans from the ’80s: distasteful and a display of cheap pop (vocal) additives — an impressive feat for a song that demands a gladiator’s diaphragm.

    It is a new decade, one that is tired of hearing pop songs about shooting stars and pretty skies stuffed with ambiguous and generic fluff in between. Perhaps McPhee’s third album will be the charm.


    “”Had It All“” – Quite catchy. McPhee demonstrates a moderate vocal range against a country-rock background reminiscent of LeAnn Rimes’ “”Nothin’ Better To Do.”” A hit.

    “”Surrender“” – Possibly the only song in which listeners can hear the emotion McPhee fails to display in an album plagued with lukewarm lyrics. The song dips into what the The Verve Music Group is good at — a warm, soulful jazz with a melody that matches the background rhythm. Ingrid Michaelson’s hand at co-writing has a positive influence.

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