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Product: Audio CD
Title: Thankful
Label: RCA
Artist: Kelly Clarkson
Rating: 4/5
Customer rating - 4 out of 5
Great...yet almost too much variety

I watched every episode of the first season of American Idol, and have been watching the 2nd season also. I bought Kelly's CD "Thankful" the first day it came out. While I really like it overall, it does have it's problems. As most other reviewers have mentioned, I think it comes down to song the AI judges have mentioned so many times on the show. I think that the record company and producers wanted to try to please everybody, so they included songs from all sorts of genres. I also read an interview with Kelly where she said she didn't want to be "pigeon-holed", and so she wanted to try different styles on the album. I'm glad that she wanted to spread her wings, but it just doesn't feel like a "cohesive" album. In my opinion, she really shines on the more R&B tracks.
Here are my comments on the individual songs: 1. The Trouble With Love Is - This is a mid-tempo bluesy ballod. It reminds me a little bit of the type of song she used to sing on the show. Has some cool high notes that accentuates her range.
2. Miss Independent - The first single off her album. I like that it was unexpected. I also like that it switches between soft & loud, which shows that she doesn't always have to belt it, but when she does, she's great. However, the volume contrast between the 2 parts is almost too much. You have to turn the volume up to hear the verses, but then when the chorus comes in it's way too loud.
3. Low - When I first heard this song, I was immediately impressed. It has more of a rock or alternative feel, could easily be a Sheryl Crow song. Kelly's voice really seemed to match well with this style.
4. Some Kind Of Miracle - The required Diane Warren song. It's a slow ballod, in the typical vein of most other Diane Warren songs. Nothing special, but Kelly's voice makes it sound good.
5. What's Up Lonely - Very cool R&B groove type of song. It's laid back, smokey, yet spunky. I think this style really suits Kelly!
6. Just Missed The Train - My favorite song on this CD! A pop/alternative style, this song reminds me a bit of Joan Osborne's style. Her voice sounds different on this song, which shows that she knows how to use her voice as an instrument..that there are many ways to "play" it to achieve different sounds!
7. Beautiful Disaster - Another fave! Shows Kelly's softer side..a more vulnerable and sultry voice..but so melodic! Great vocal hooks, and the lyrics on this song are great too..."Do I try to change him? So hard not to blame him....And if I could hold on through the tears and the laughter, would it be beautiful or just a beautiful disaster?" Describes so many on-again off-again relationships so well.
8. You Thought Wrong - I'm undecided on this one. I love that it's a duet with Tamira Gray and that it has a great "women are strong" attitude. However, all I can think of when I hear it is "The Boy Is Mine" by Brandy & Monica. The feel is just so similar. Also, the chorus is actually hard to understand...there is so much background music and layering of vocals, that it distorts some of the words...frustrating! Definitely over-produced.
9. Thankful - Fantastic jazzy blues song that is so catchy! The vocals seem so laid back that it's relaxing yet fun at the same time. I just LOVE listening to puts me in a good mood. :)
10. Anytime - Not my favorite, but it's the best ballod on the disc. If you loved "A Moment Like This", this song will be right up your alley.
OVERALL: I recommend getting this CD - Kelly proves that she deserved to win American Idol. It also has some really good songs and it puts me in a good mood. However, I think Kelly's next CD should be more focused. She needs to find her own style, but I'm sure this will come in time.
BEST SONGS: Low, What's Up Lonely, Just Missed The Train, Beautiful Disaster, and Thankful.

Product: Audio CD
Title: The Best of KC & the Sunshine Band [Rhino 1990]
Label: Rhino Records
Artist: KC & the Sunshine Band
Rating: 5/5
Customer rating - 5 out of 5
The Best 70's Album Ever

This is IT!!! The album of definative 70's music that is a must for any real music lover of that genre. KC epitomises what good music is all about, the best album to ever reach the presses. BUY IT!

Product: Audio CD
Title: The Essential Earth, Wind & Fire
Label: Sony
Artist: Wind & Fire Earth
Rating: 4/5
Customer rating - 4 out of 5
Where's the Power?

EWF are one of my favourite bands. Their early output from 1971 through to around the mid-70s contained a number of sublime gems. And none more sublime than the track "POWER" from their third album "Last Days and Time" which came out in 1972. It's one of their instrumentals which the band used to be such past masters at. Awesome fuzz guitar and soprano sax overlay driving drums and bass. This track really cooks! At the same time it's a highly tuneful, purposeful and very structured piece of music. Every second of the 8 minutes counts. In short, utterly brilliant, in my opinion. Unfortunately, for reasons beyond me, it's NOT INCLUDED in this compilation. So, by all means buy this new "Essential" album, but make sure you tuck a copy of "Last Days and Time" away while you're at it! It's the proud owner of the most essential track of the lot!

Product: Audio CD
Title: As Time Goes By...The Great American Songbook: Volume II
Label: J-Records
Artist: Rod Stewart
Rating: 5/5
Customer rating - 5 out of 5
Rod rises?

Have both of these respectful cd's. Lover of these old standards, I thouroughly enjoy them equally. Rod has risen to present these great classics similar to the 2 albums by Linda Rondstadt back in the 80's when she payed similar homage to the late, great, Nelson Riddle.Kudos to Rod. Hope to see a Trilogy.