Sunday, 7 June 2015

CD Review: Scott Alan - What I Wanna Be When I Grow Up

“Not quite ready to grieve”

I looked at Scott Alan’s live album last week and this week it is the turn of 2010’s What I Wanna Be When I Grow Up. His third album, it follows the similar path of collating songs around a common theme but still showcasing a wide range of musical influences from Alan, and showing off the extent of his address book in calling in some of Broadway’s brightest lights to help him out. It’s a nice collection but one which never really kicks fully into gear for me. 

The relaxed radio-friendly emotion of Laura Osnes’ ‘Easy’ and ‘Warm’ by Zak Resnick & Morgan James and the chirpy, almost girl-group pop of Nikki Renee Daniels’ ‘Love, Love, Love’ show Alan’s undoubted skill with a well-honed melody and capturing contemporary pop sensibilities. His favoured style of writing is clearly stonking empowerment anthems of which there are plenty here – ‘Watch Me Soar’ by Willemijn Verkaik and ‘I Wish’ by Diana DeGarmo probably rank as the two strongest.
  
Something happens in the middle of the album though where it perhaps becomes a little flabby, a little MOR for want of a better term. I think the problem lies in the arrangements as much as anything as Cassie McIvor’s ‘Not Quite Ready Yet to Grieve’ is a lovely piece of music but feels swamped here and ‘Over The Mountains’ and ‘Take Me Away’ also make little real impact despite good vocal work by Bobby Steggert and Darius De Haas respectively.

The plaintive fragility of songs like ‘Nothing More’ by Christopher Sieber, Christiane Noll’s ‘I Remember’ and Anything Worth Holding on To, sung here with heartfelt restraint by Crystal Monee Hall as an interesting contrast to both the self-sung version and Cynthia Erivo’s take, which have both continued the song’s journey more recently. Patina Miller’s ‘Taking Back My Life’ is a rousing ending for a decent CD but not one which is particularly life-changing.

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