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Lee Dewyze Defies Idol Odds in Debut Album “Live It Up”

The thing about American Idol winners is that they can sink into obscurity over night. Just look at the massive black dude in the purple suit or the guy who had grey hair, but wasn’t, like super old? Where are they now? Can you name them off the top of your head? People never seem to forget that one of them couldn’t read, and one had weird hair. Very few Idols have managed to stir up enough interest in their post-reality TV careers to stay on people’s minds.

Kelly Clarkson is the continual staple of the “genre” but Chris Daughtry and Carrie Underwood, have also followed behind and had immense success of their own. In Idol’s 9th season, Lee Dewyze was the winner and his record “Live It Up” tries it’s hardest at showcasing a musician who clearly saw a bigger picture than 99% of the typical contestants who compete for pop culture celebrity. Having released two independent records prior to performing on the large national stage, Dewyze doesn’t try any bungling foolishness with trying to sell an idea of something that he’s not on “Live it up.”

The overall tone of “Live it up” is one that is easy and untroubled. There are no attempts at MTV success or bubble gum pop songs that 14-year-old tweens will gobble up. Dewyze actually makes you believe that he was voted the winner based on the merit of his talent, which is surprising, considering the medium. The tone and sound of the record is an amalgam of Dave Matthews mixed with “Geek in the Pink” Jason Mraz, or Jack Johnson’s smoked out surfer pop. “Brooklyn Bridge” and “Earth Stood Still” pretty much belong on a Train record, without sounding as hokey as Train does, thank god. The world does not need another Train.

Dewyze keeps his recent success in perspective and lets it appear as he fluidly bounces from track to track of adult contemporary pop that isn’t offending and intrinsically allows the listener to simply, just enjoy it. Each track on the album features bouncy piano riffs while coupled with a few basic melodies strummed out on an acoustic guitar and overall, it works. Dewyze does what he does best and doesn’t try to reinvent the wheel, which for a lot of musicians, is their ultimate demise.

“Live It Up” has some strong tracks if you’re looking for a record to slip on while hanging around with a loved one while cooking dinner, or driving in the rain, it’s not a critic’s dream, but it’s not an album that deserves to be ripped apart. One thing I do know, he’ll never achieve, is the awesomeness of William Hung. Dewyze, keep trying for that glory.

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