Elliott Yamin's debut is so agreeable and well-executed it may well convert hardened R&B experts--the kind who'd normally distance themselves from a disc with a TV pedigree. With sincerity and a voice that vaults itself to... more » places no talent-show contestant should be able to go, Yamin bares his soul here in a way that would do his hero, Donny Hathaway, proud. Tracks like "Take My Breath Away" and "You Are the One" find him twisting a wrench around love-stained lyrics; "I'm the Man" and "Find A Way" flow with hat-in-hand grace (and, in the case of the latter, a scat worthy of a vintage jazz stage); and opener "Movin' On" immortalizes the season five judges'-table words of Paula Abdul: Ellliott Yamin is "one funky white boy." As he proves with this five-star album, he is also among the most gifted artists ever to a turn a stint on the show into a recording career. --Tammy La Gorce« less
Elliott Yamin's debut is so agreeable and well-executed it may well convert hardened R&B experts--the kind who'd normally distance themselves from a disc with a TV pedigree. With sincerity and a voice that vaults itself to places no talent-show contestant should be able to go, Yamin bares his soul here in a way that would do his hero, Donny Hathaway, proud. Tracks like "Take My Breath Away" and "You Are the One" find him twisting a wrench around love-stained lyrics; "I'm the Man" and "Find A Way" flow with hat-in-hand grace (and, in the case of the latter, a scat worthy of a vintage jazz stage); and opener "Movin' On" immortalizes the season five judges'-table words of Paula Abdul: Ellliott Yamin is "one funky white boy." As he proves with this five-star album, he is also among the most gifted artists ever to a turn a stint on the show into a recording career. --Tammy La Gorce
"Well, we've had to wait quite a while for Elliott's CD but I have to say he has done a fine job. His voice sounds great and several of the songs deserve to be hits. My personal favorites are You Are the One, Trainwreck, I'm the Man, Wait for You, Take My Breath Away, and A Song for You. I heard the whole CD on AOL music and I received my Amazon order today, right on schedule.
Someone else posted that they thought all the songs sounded the same. I don't agree. Elliott sings his heart out on each track and makes each song his own.
I do think the lyrics are sometimes too simple but that does not take away from the quality of the album.
And the album gets even better after the first listen.
Now I just hope those who didn't watch American Idol will buy the CD, too. They are in for a huge treat.
BTW, there are bonus tracks at other places to buy the album and Elliott does a fantastic version of Whiter Shade of Pale."
American Idol's Underdog Competitor Shares His Day In The Su
J. E. Barnes | Bayridge, Brooklyn, New York | 03/28/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"'American Idol' presently holds a strange position in contemporary American culture. Watched religiously each season by millions of Americans from every walk of life, the program continues to be disparaged as the ultimate in lowbrow entertainment by many prominent media figures. Note, for example, how MSNBC's Keith Olbermann and Joe Scarborough regularly ridicule and mock the American Idol phenomenon, while CNN's Larry King and Fox's Bill O'Reilly treat it with varying degrees of curiosity and respect (whatever their primary motives may be).
Among the faux-sophisticates of New York City, many of whom claim to reject both regular television viewing as well, in some cases, as television ownership, watching `American Idol' is also proof of an individual's blatant lack of cultural development and taste. Enthusiastically discussing the program in public, whether in a cafe, while riding the subway, or around the proverbial office water cooler, is, for the 'hip,' a cardinal sin of the first magnitude (nevertheless, Yamin's recent appearance at Time Square's Virgin Megastore drew telling record crowds).
But as no-nonsense cultural critic Camille Paglia underscored more than a decade ago, television IS American life, and has never been more so than in 2007, when access to cable and satellite television practically ubiquitous in this country, despite increasing competition from the internet.
More to the point, there is a lively record of public competition throughout history; it's fairly safe to say that public competition was one of the first forms of entertainment among ancient, even primitive, man. Thus, in essence, American Idol is only the latest incarnation of a literally age-old tradition, and one that assists in bringing a divergent range of people together to share a pleasurable and occasionally educational experience.
Genuinely sophisticated persons probably agree with writer and novelist Rebecca West, who, some eighty years ago, said, "What a boring place the world would be if there were only room for first-rate art." Such individuals might be conversant in the works of Euripides, Dante, Chaucer, Cervantes, Shakespeare, Milton, and Blake, and may know an Ionic column from a Doric, but probably also enthusiastically enjoy watching reruns or DVD collections of 'Rawhide,' '77 Sunset Strip,' 'Green Acres,' 'Keeping Up Appearances,' and/or 'Entourage.' Thankfully, when it comes to music, people everywhere aren't limited to listening to Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin, Satie, and Richard Strauss.
Even when considering previous seasons of American Idol, Elliott Yamin was arguably the show's ultimate underdog. Comparatively short of stature, initially of awkward physical appearance, 90% deaf in one ear, a diabetes sufferer, and of Jewish/minority heritage, in addition to his beautiful voice, Yamin had one quality that set him apart from most of the other contestants: like previous winner Fantasia Barrino, Yamin had genuine soul. He sang, and in singing, cast a shadow across the stage and screen that directly touched the hearts of millions of American viewers. Ace Young, Bucky Covington, and Katherine McPhee might have been better looking, but Elliott was more lovable--and talented.
Who will ever forget Elliot's semi-triumphant return to his home town of Richmond, Virginia, advancing down a thoroughfare in an open convertible as the throngs of the Richmond population cheered him on, the tears streaming down his face--and down the face of his mother?
A year after the end of season five, Yamin has released his first album, an event many feared might never come to pass. Highly listenable throughout, 'Elliot Yamin' is, first and foremost, real music, the kind of genuinely moving, grooving, touching, and comforting music rarely produced since in this country since the mid-Seventies.
Though many of the lyrics err on the side of the generic, most of the songs are catchy in the best kind of way, and Yamin's vocals, which are disciplined without any sacrifice of energy or spontaneity, soar far beyond anything heard during his tenure on American Idol.
This is an album that deserves to go right to the top of the charts, be played on radio stations everywhere, and reach as large and diverse an audience as possible. The appeal of its pop-jazz-soul fusion may be universal.
Four songs are particularly riveting: 'You Are The One,' 'I'm The Man,' 'Trainwreck,' and especially 'Free,' which is the kind of joyous, driving, and potentially liberating youth anthem the world hasn't heard in thirty years. When Elliott emotes on these tracks, the listener believes him--and believes in him--utterly.
An ok first album.
C. Duncanson | Earth | 03/29/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I really like the first song "Movin On". Elliott has a phenominal voice. Would have liked to have heard some songs similiar to the ones he sang on American Idol."
Sha Cha | Essex, England | 04/01/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
"HAVE BEEN WAITING FOR THE RELEASE OF A CD FOR THE FANTASTIC MR. YAMIN. THAT VOICE - WOW. GOOD LISTENING - BUT WISH HE'D SUNG A FEW MORE UP TEMPO COMMERCIAL SOUL TYPE SONGS TO BALANCE THE CD. HAVING SAID THAT - LOVE THE VOICE. HE'S A STAR."
ELLIOTT YAMIN - MY IDOL
Ritchie Payao | Bergenfield, NJ | 03/26/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"FINALLY! Elliott Yamin's album has been so highly anticipated by his most avid (Etrainers) fans that he could have recorded the alphabet song quickly and we would still have been over the moon about it. His third place finish on Idol was so disheartening that only an album of great quality would wipe out the memory of that night. Thank goodness he delivers a soulful album that both satisfies his artistic juices and his fans' desire for his new music. Ten months later, with a lot of hard work and a "Hollywood" look, I think Elliott proves he is the artist who will be around for years to come. Here are my reviews for each track:
1. Movin' On - Elliott co-writes this song and right off the bat he shows off his great vocal chops and of course, his funky-ness, a great choice as a first track
2. Wait For You - this song has the biggest potential to be the album's most massive hit, great radio-friendly melody, the lyrics are so relatable - very We Belong Together-ish, but what's the most impressive was his phrasing throughout, it seems effortless especially when he performs it live, I can listen to this song 24/7
3. Find A Way - a hopeful song that Elliott also co-wrote, I like the reference to war because it shows that he is not just a cookie-cutter pop wannabe singer who is unaware of our world today care
4. One Word - this is not my favorite track because I just do not think it stands out
5. You Are The One - love the piano here, I think this is the type of songs he should make his bread and butter, the white boy may love to play and sing the funky music but his voice just totally lends itself to great romantic songs, I think this song is good for the Adult Contemporary crowd
6. I'm The Man - this is "so" my song and I'm glad he has song of this title, another great one that can do well at the AC charts
7. Train Wreck - Of all the tracks Elliott co-wrote, I think this is his best, his delivery here was so smooth and his voice captured the perfect blend of the pain and hesitation
8. Free - another hopeful track, probably my least favorite track but in time it will likely grow on me
9. Alright - this funky track is in the vein of Timberlake's latest effort and Elliott does fine job of making it his own, I am pleasantly surprised that he included a party-type tune here
10. Take My Breath Away - I think this is his crowning jewel on this album, the groove is of utter perfection, the simplicity of the lyrics is brilliant and his voice is truly exquisite here, Elliott would be wise to work with this songwriter again and the Grammy voters would be wise to consider this song for the big awards
11. A Song For You - I'm glad this song was picked over Moody's because this was a song he totally owned on Idol and I think Leon Russell and Donny Hathaway would be proud of Elliott's effort here, I would love this even more if it was recorded live
I just love it when I purchase an album that has no weak (press forward) tracks. His songwriting is only bound to get better and I think the big name producers will be seeking him out now. My one minor complaint about this album is the length, just less than 42 minutes for an album with 11 tracks is quite short. However, Mr. Yamin made sure he made up for it with a slew of bonus tracks available and accessible everywhere.
This is an album sure to please his devoted voters from Idol but it will certainly win him some new fans. "