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Sunday, October 4, 2009

Review: Blake Lewis - Heartbreak On Vinyl

Blake Lewis - Heartbreak On Vinyl
2009, Tommy Boy Records

Blake Lewis got his big break on season six of American Idol, finishing as runner-up to winner Jordin Sparks. Fans of the show continue to argue whether it was talent or gimmicky that advanced Lewis that far; he appeared to be on his way to an earlier exit from the show until he surprised the audience with beat-box style performances. The novelty of this performance (and several to follow) carried Lewis into the final. His 2007 debut album, Audio Day Dream, has sold 350,000 copies to date, and Lewis has maintained a high profile since his days on Idol. On October 6, 2009, Lewis returns with Heartbreak On Vinyl, influenced by 1980's Electropop and Dance music and current trends in electronic music. Lewis had help from such folks as S*A*M & Sluggo (Fall Out Boy, Panic At The Disco); Dave Aude (Pussycat Dolls); Rodney Jerkins (Lady Gaga, Britney Spears) and Jean Baptiste (Will.I.Am, Black Eyed Peas).

Lewis opens with the title track, a song inspired by the closing of both his favorite record store in his home town and the closing of the Virgin Mega Store in Times Square in New York City. The song is a decent listen with a good dance beat. Lewis' voice is affable without bowling you over. Binary Love and Freak are pure Dance Pop tunes; not much on thought required as long as you keep moving. Voices and lyrics are essentially interchangeable in such songs as the rhythm is ultimately all that matters. Sad Song is the single from the album; full of electronic effects and even vocal effects; the song is perhaps the least impressive song on the disc both musically and vocally. Lewis returns to pure dance pop on the mediocre Afraid, but does a bit better with Left My Baby For You, crafting a melody and rhythm that suggests there's real pop musicality to be found if you dig for it.

SuperScratchaVocalisticTurnatableLicious is a minute of turntable tricks, sampling and looping of Lewis' beat-box style. This was entertaining to listen to, but would work better if he actually crafted a whole song from vocal sounds rather than just a brief sample. Lewis is at his best on The Point, which starts out as a quietly dramatic tune that builds in intensity and in sound, if slowly. Lewis' voice is decent and he builds the song well. The Remedy kicks back into Dance Pop mode and is probably the most successful overall track on the disc. Lewis says goodnight with Love Or Torture (Please Don't Stop), a catchy but mindless tune perfect for the clubs.

Blake Lewis continues down the path he began on American Idol, creating Pop, Electronic kid music that plays well to those who want little more out of music than a good beat. Heartbreak On Vinyl isn't a bad effort, containing several songs with real chart potential. I suspect Heartbreak On Vinyl will be a big success for Lewis.

Rating: 3 Stars (Out of 5)

You can learn more about Blake Lewis at or Heartbreak On Vinyl drops October 6, 2009. You can pre-order a copy from Expect wide distribution in both real and virtual formats.


Barbariba said...

I love this album!Blake is at his best vocally. Heartbreak on Vinyl is probably my favorite off the album. The songs will make you want to dance from beginning to end. Each song has a different melody,and beat and are perfect for dancing. While I really enjoyed Blake's debut album,Audio Daydream, I think Heartbreak on Vinyl is a much better representation of who Blake is as an artist and the direction he wants to go. I wish him much success with this album.

Diet Drama said...

IMO- This is one of the best reords ever to be put out by a former Idol contestant. It's very current and definitly makes me want to dance! Everyone should check it out!

Lisa said...

"Heartbreak On Vinyl" is awesome! It shows the amazing artist Blake is! Everyone should check it out! It's a very personal, deep album but also fun and will have you dancing!

Renee said...

Yes, yes, yes, Heartbreak on Vinyl is awesome. Blake's talent for music is so evident on this wonderful album. Blake's versatility shows through as he leads us from dance music to tunes with a tender touch. 'So glad to have HOV in our collection of music. We are thrilled, too, to have Blake Lewis recording music for people who can really appreciate his talent. said...

No doubt, the writer is completely right.