Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Reviews Applaud 'Without You'


A THOUSAND DIFFERENT WAYS -- The title of Clay Aiken's long-awaited CD describes the boundless creations his fans have produced as evidenced by this stunning graphic by Amazing_CA.

Triumphant Return of The Vox

Reviews Applaud 'Without You'

During the past few weeks, this blog has featured many amazing Clayversion stories from fans who have shared the lead single and 14 snippets of A Thousand Different Ways with others. Less than 14 days away, the 9/19 counter on most message boards steadily advancing towards the midnight moment the album will drop, two important online reviewers have added impressive critiques to the mix.

No over-the-top praise or criticism based on preconceived notions. Just straight talk about Clay's outstanding vocals, interpretation skills, and a few details about the album production.

On Sunday, Sept. 3, Bill Lamb of Top 40/Pop posted this review:

Clay Aiken - Without You

It's been a long three-year wait for Clay Aiken's army of dedicated fans since his first non-holiday studio album Measure of a Man. "Without You" is the first taste of the upcoming album A Thousand Different Ways. Is it the rousing return his fans are hoping for? Read the review and then draw your own conclusion.

Guide Rating: 4 STARS OUT OF 5

The Bottom Line

Simply said, Clay Aiken's "Without You" is a triumphant return. While it would be easy to think that Harry Nilsson and Mariah Carey had wrung all the possibilities from this pop chestnut, there are some fine elements here and a bravura vocal performance.

Head over to Clay Aiken's official site to hear "Without You."

PSA TIME-OUT: At the Top 40 site, you can rate the song plus leave a comment as many have done. Despite downloads, Clay fans are being urged to STREAM Clay's new single.

Kellykellyk of Clayversity explains: An easy way for everyone to help build buzz for Clay is to stream his new single online, and if a video is made available we should stream that as well. Online streams of songs and videos are gaining importance as a way for radio and retailers to determine which songs and artists are popular and whether they should be added to their playlist or inventory. There has even been talk that Billboard may add number of streams to calculate Hot 100 positions.

Some of the sites currently streaming Without You:

* Clay Aiken's Official Site

* Clay Aiken's MySpace Page

* Fanscape

Streaming sites that will be very important when activated include:

* Yahoo

* AOL

* MSN

* Rhapsody

Back to the Top 40/Pop review, Lamb adds the following:

Pros
* The beauty and clarity of Clay Aiken's voice
* Very nicely propulsive instrumental arrangement
* The emotion is restored to this classic song

Cons
* Please, enunciate - We can do without "Without 'ooo"

Description
* Simple piano-focused intro
* Instantly recognizable vocals
* Impeccable pop arrangement with welcome percussive elements missing in previous arrangementsGuide

Review - Clay Aiken - Without You

If you are unfamiliar with the song "Without You," you have not been listening to pop radio for the past 35 years. The song, written by Badfinger's Pete Ham and Tom Evans, first appeared as a Badfinger album cut on "No Dice," released in 1970. Idiosyncratic pop singer Harry Nilsson released a version of the song in 1971 featuring the signature piano intro that would be the standard for future recordings of "Without You." The song became a #1 hit for Nilsson and the biggest pop hit of his career. Mariah Carey took the song back into the pop charts in 1994 with a surprisingly plastic sounding interpretation.


Clay Aiken has chosen the instantly familiar tune as the lead-in for his first proper studio album in three years. I count myself as one of the skeptics when I first heard this would be the opening single, but "Without You" is a good choice and will tremendously please his many devoted fans while quite possibly gaining a few new converts.

The pure beauty in Aiken's voice is abundantly showcased here, and the arrangement gives a contemporary twist on the song. The mix is pleasantly propulsive and percussive which will sound great on pop radio. Mainstream pop radio should give this track a chance. It's popularity may surprise more than a few radio programmers.

And suddenly it's not just the fans talking about Clay's new CD!


PHOTO INTERMISSION: Today's clickable interlude features the graphic creations of five talented visual artists: Katt45 (1), Claystruck (2), ABeautifulMind (3), Ambassador Of Love (4), and Amazing_CA (5).








Reviewer Labels ATDW a Winner

Appearing this week at Shipwreck Island Studios, a four-year-old web site run by two guys in their 20s who enjoy writing about good music, is this "first reaction" preview:


Clay Aiken - A Thousand Different Ways (Island Preview - First Reaction):

I was privileged to listen to Clay's album today, and I have to say he's got a winner on his hands. I was a bit put off by the idea of another covers album but he's pulled it off nicely. A classic track such as Bryan Adams "Everything I Do" which I felt couldn't be redone properly is completely retooled and sounds amazing.

I'd say the best reinvented track has to be the Celine Dion song "Because You Love Me." I didn't care for the original version but Clay sped up the song and added his own flavor to it making it his own.

Now when I first heard about this disc the one song that stood out to me was the Bad English song "When I See You Smile." I read some pretty harsh comments from some fans that in a nutshell said that Clay couldn't pull off this classic track. While it's not quite was redone as other songs, Clay's vocals fit perfectly and with a violin backing really allows the song to breath a bit more. To me Clay pulled this track off with no issues at all.

Honestly, I'm shocked over how good this disc turned out. Seventeen days to go until it's release but I'll have an album review up before it's release. Everyone is in for a real treat with this release. - Tony

Many Try, Few Prevail

With American Idol auditions currently underway in Memphis, a story in the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal quotes an American Idol producer about the time he first saw Clay:

"American Idol" Coordinating Producer Patrick Lynn said the team is always judging auditioners.

"It takes us five to 30 seconds (to decide who's going on to the next round)," Lynn said. "It took me two seconds to know (season two runner up) Clay Aiken.

New Photos Slay Fans

Clay inadvertently slayed many of his fans Monday night when Starhorse of Clayversity located some photos in an Associated Press archive database. Shot by Matt Sayles in Santa Monica, CA on Aug. 30, the pictures quickly traversed CA Cyberspace and were not only the talk of the message boards but also immediate inspiration for the many graphic artists among our singer's fans.These three

With American Idol auditions currently underway in Memphis, a story in the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal quotes an American Idol producer about the time he first saw Clay:

"American Idol" Coordinating Producer Patrick Lynn said the team is always judging auditioners.

"It takes us five to 30 seconds (to decide who's going on to the next round)," Lynn said. "It took me two seconds to know (season two runner up) Clay Aiken.


New Photos Slay Fans

Clay inadvertently slayed many of his fans Monday night when Starhorse of Clayversity located some photos in an Associated Press archive database. Shot by Matt Sayles in Santa Monica, CA on Aug. 30, the pictures quickly traversed CA Cyberspace and were not only the talk of the message boards but also immediate inspiration for the many graphic artists among our singer's fans.

These three clickable wallpapers were created by Amazing_CA, Katt45, and Cindilu2:





Clay Train Taking Precedence

My music students begin fall lessons all this week, but each dramatic new happening has their teacher riding the Clay Train instead of outlining the year's curriculum, not to mention vacuuming the studio carpet.

Clay fans are anticipating many exciting stops along the promo trail in the near future. What an awesome time for Clay Aiken and his fans!

Caro

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3 comments:

Vox Vixen said...

I like that you listed the streaming links here. I'm always trying to dig them up because I like to listen to them a couple of times a day, but I always forget to bookmark them.

The reviews are going to be interesting. I hope Clay gets credit for his vocal prowess even if you gets blasted for a cover CD.

geni said...

hey, caro, i now have 2 links. you have so much info on here you should get paid as a recruiter....or at least get an official "#1 FAN " sticker. but then you'd have a fight on your hands. keep up the good work. geni

Pamela said...

Caro, this is a fabulous blog! Your love and dedication shows in every word and picture. Bravo - and I love the graphic as well.

Must be the purple. ; )