I am the world’s worst procrastinator. Members of Chris Sligh’s band, Half Past Forever, were kind enough to send me a preview copy of their new CD “Take a Chance on Something Beautiful” (currently available at Amazon) more than a month ago, and I have yet to review it. In light of Chris’s untimely elimination, I gave myself a good talking to–Hello, self? Quit screwing around and write that review! And so, here it is.
I’d like to say that musically, nothing makes me happier than the sound of a jangling Rickenbacker. In other words, I love me some melodic, catchy pop/rock. You too? Well, then, get yourself to Amazon and order Half Past Forever’s debut CD.
You can sample some tunes at both of the band’s My Space pages here and here. There’s a video for the awesomely hook-laden tune “Know” posted on You Tube. For you digital types, the CD can be downloaded from the Half Past Forever official website.
I first heard “Know” early in the season–back when I learned about Chris through a spoiler list I posted. I was directed to the band’s My Space page back then and immediately fell in love with Chris’s raspy tenor, the tune’s chiming guitars and sweet strings. Like I said–I love, love love the happy happy strains of the 3 minute power pop song.
The album features more songs, like “Know” that mine the pop vein. While “Waiting, ” “Tunnel Vision, ” and “Cry Tonight” are strictly Pure Pop for Now People (anybody who gets that reference, wins a cookie. heh.), there are also tunes–“Hero, ” “Naive, ” and “Closer”–that do the pop thang with a harder edge.
There’s even a power ballad, “In a Moment”–that would not be out of place as an Idol coronation song–complete with climatic key change. Since I have an aversion to power ballads admittedly, it’s not my favorite song–but it is a nice showcase for Chris’s beautiful voice.
Some of the songs have Christian themes. “Rise” is an exuberant ode to redemption. “Naive” talks about sticking to faith in a faithless world and the protagonist in “Hero” is “looking for a savior.”
But there are songs that also speak to love, friendship, betrayal and faith in more universal terms. Chris (who wrote most of the lyrics) and his bandmates seem to have written these songs with a broader audience in mind–appealing to both Christian and secular audiences.
The CD closes with “How Long, ” a lovely, ethereal ode to love and longing. The tune starts off with a minimal guitar riff that explodes a quarter of the way through. Very, very sweet.
While Chris was kicked off American Idol prematurely (that’s the way the Idol ball bounces, unfortunately) we’re lucky to have this solid offering from Chris and his band to tide us over until the tour. Oh by the way–I just downloaded Chris’s studio version of “Every Little Thing She Does is Magic” from the Americanidol.com download page, Me likey. It’s terrific.
On another note, there’s been some controversy around the remarks Chris made to reporters during his conference call interview. Anybody who was pissed off after reading the various interviews around the net, might want to read the entire transcript of the conference call posted at the USA Today Idol Chatter blog. It puts some of his quotes into a larger context.
My impression of Chris is that he’s thoughtful, intelligent, with a definite snarky edge. In the larger article, he fully acknowledges the power of Idol to propel his career and is happy that he took the ride. He admits that he chose songs for himself, rather than to please the judges or the audience–which could have been his undoing.
Also, for more insight, you might want to check out his blog From My Mind to Your Eyes. Chris elaborates on some of the comments he made during the conference call.
Lastly, I want to make a big ole shout out to the AWESOME Steve-0 who runs Chris Sligh’s official fan site. You can keep up with Chris’s post Idol appearances and interviews at her excellent site.