Song of the Week – Taking Back My Life – Kimberly Caldwell

Before we get to Song of the Week, can I just point something out? If any of you happened to read last week’s SOTW post, you’ll know I had somewhat of an epiphany by the end and realized Jessica was my “person” this year. I was very hesitant to “declare” it though, because every time I decide to root for someone—they’re cursed. So what happens this week? Wednesday night, Jessica absolutely KILLED it with her performance. But because I cursed her, it didn’t matter. While the judges praised her, there was no standing O, which there DEF should have been. Then—on top of everything else—she was the BOTTOM vote-getter?! Gah! I shall never publicly name my favorite again! Okay—I’m done with my rant now. :)

Song – Taking Back My Life
Artist – Kimberly Caldwell
Album – Without Regret
Season – 2nd
Place – 7th

Kimberly Caldwell really surprised me this week. I thought I knew quite a bit about her, but after listening to the tracks on her debut release Without Regret, I quickly realized I wasn’t at all familiar with her as a vocalist. I remember her from season two quite clearly. She had that very distinct, husky, alto-type voice, which I think played in her favor, but also hindered her a lot. Maybe it’s why she only lasted till seventh place. Luckily, Kimberly knew exactly how to play up her other strengths.

After Idol, she made no sudden decisions on her music career. She booked television, acting, and hosting gigs wherever she could get them, and eventually it paid off. She signed on to work for TV Guide network as a host and Idol correspondent. What a smart decision Kimberly made! Although she’s nowhere near being a household name, she’s carved a nice little niche for herself in the industry. Maybe that’s why by the time she finally released her debut album last April—EIGHT years after her Idol season—no one really took any notice. And it really is a shame, because I think it’s a solid effort.

I decided to go with the song “Taking Back My Life.” It’s a very powerful ballad on the album that really caught my attention. Kimberly speaks to a former lover, who’s recently left her. Rather than be torn apart by this, Kimberly sings about moving on and realizing she’s now stronger than she’s ever been. Her voice is really spectacular throughout the ENTIRE track—from the soft opening, where she captures the emotion so well, to the soaring chorus, where we can really hear the grit in her voice. Sometimes on Idol that rawness in her voice could be a little much, which is far from the case on Without Regret. We get the smokiness (yep, I used “smokiness” to describe her voice) in her voice mixed with the perfect amount of angst and emotion.

“Taking Back My Life” is a pretty good representation of the album. So many of the tracks have the classic 80’s rock, power-ballad feel to them, and I love it. It’s like a nice little mix of Pat Benatar with a pinch of Janis Joplin and…uh…well, something else! Haha

Of course, there are some random songs on the album as well, but I still think Kimberly deserved more credit/success for this. Her first single from the album flopped. It was called “Mess of Me,” and I remember when she debuted it. I thought the song was bad at the time, but like I said—Kimberly really surprised me when I took another listen. “Mess of Me” was one of my favorites! Too bad it went nowhere, and the album was delayed, with a new single rushed out. This time it was “Desperate Boys and Stupid Girls”—one of the tracks that has no place on the album. It’s actually a quite catchy, dance-pop song, and I think someone else (someone with a name) could’ve made a hit out of it. But it just wasn’t Kimberly, and the song pretty much fizzled.

Naturally, after the two failed singles, Without Regret didn’t even make a dent in the charts. It’s been an entire year, and I doubt any of us will ever hear anything musically from Kimberly in the near future. She built a nice career in television and waited patiently for her opportunity to make the debut album she wanted. Unfortunately—like so many others—she never really took off, even if she should have.

Did I mention she’s drop-dead gorgeous? Like, WOW! What more do you want from an artist? A unique, talented voice, killer looks, and charisma and personality made for the entertainment world. It’s such a bummer Kim…

No worries though! As I mentioned, Kimberly seems to be pretty smart with her career. She didn’t put all her eggs in the music basket and made sure she had another gig to fall back on. She’s hosting some tattoo show on the Oxygen network. It’s not a platinum album by any means, but hey—nine years after Idol, and she’s still on TV every week and bringing in a nice paycheck? That’s something the majority of Idol alumni would kill for. So do your thing Kim!

P.S. Would LOVE it if people would send me a quick tweet with your song suggestions! I know it seems like it would be easy with hundreds of former Idols to choose from, but it’s not! C’mon Idol fans! What’s that amazing track you know no one has heard, but NEEDS to. Let me know. Thanks guys! Till next week! #SOTW

  • Eilonwy

    Caldwell’s voice is a lot more interesting than the lyrics she ends up with here. But then, I like her vocals.

    Honestly, I’d expected her album to do better than it did: she worked hard for it, and it seemed radio-friendly enough.

  • stargazed

    Very nice indeed.

  • Anonymous

    Well, many thanks for choosing this fine singer.  I didn’t come to Idol till S5 or so and missed her.  Iraheta was the last Idol female contestant whose voice I really liked and Kim’s has some of the same huskiness.  Very nice, indeed.  (And what a knockout.)

  • Garrett Clayman

    whats ur twitter

  • Allison

    I actually bought Kim’s album when it came out and  I liked it. I feel bad it went no where. She was a great performer on the Idol tour that year.

  • Nick

    lovetheusa1776 — I know right! I was going to mention in my write up that if Allison would have went less poppy and more rock ballad music like this, they would have sounded exactly the same. No complaints though, as I love both!

    Oh, and tweet suggestions to @slimymeatballs on Twitter. Weird name–I know. But I’m a weird person, so… :)

  • Shirley Tomlinson

    I think the song is very pretty, but I don’t care for Kim’s voice. It sounds hoarse to me, not good. But the song is very pretty.

  • Incipit

    Shirley Tomlinson, that’s funny – because I don’t like the song at all, but I really like her voice. I prefer that sound, I even liked “Desperate Girls and Stupid Boys”. Makes me wonder what else she has to offer that may be a better song.

  • Anonymous

    Kim has been through the ringer I think – I know for a fact she signed a record deal very quickly after Idol (label escapes me now), and even recorded an entire album, but it never saw the light of day. Even Randy Jackson was involved in the project, iirc. It took her nearly a decade to release an album, on a different label – something I sorta never expected to actually happen, lol.

  • Anonymous

    I wasn’t a great idol watcher during her season so I can barely remember her. But I heard her single Desperate Girls and Stupid Boys on radio and picked up her album on a whim. I loved it. The songs are very solid. There isn’t one that I didn’t like. She has a very nice raspy voice and delivered well. I’ll be tempted again to pick up her second album if there is one.  

  • Anonymous

    I enjoyed her debut album.  She was great on TV Guide Network.  She has a great personality.  I wish her well in whatever she attempts in the future.