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Rhythm & Views

Blake Lewis

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Confession: I rooted hard for the beatboxin', scat-singin' Blake Lewis during the previous season of American Idol, and I really wanted to like this album. Too bad Audio Day Dream is pretty much impossible to get worked up about. Lordy, I tried. I'm a populist at heart, and the idea that millions of teenage girls could know better than pop-eschewing music snobs is deeply appealing.

Unfortunately, Audio Day Dream (ADD, get it? Sigh ...) stretches Lewis' talent way too thin in a scattershot attempt at eclecticism. Lewis is presented as a jack of all musical genres: new wave, hip-hop and pop. This approach completely misses the main thrust of his appeal--that he was an unabashed one-trick pony who almost won American Idol solely on his white-boy beatboxing skills. The album ends up highlighting paper-thin vocals and stunningly unoriginal lyrics ("I'm too weak to be strong / I can't be the only one / Holding on 'til the day you find me").

The best track is the Justin Timberlake-esque "Know My Name," a fun exercise in good-natured come-on bravado featuring the fantastic Lupe Fiasco; and "How Many Words" is a respectably pretty pop song. But then there's the crap: the noxious "Gots to Get Her" ("inspired" by "Puttin' on the Ritz"--enough said?); a couple of sound-alike, dull ballads; and the shameless Maroon 5 rip-off, "Hate 2 Love Her."

Eh. When's Melinda Doolittle's album coming out?

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