Album Review: Kimberley Locke, “One Love” (2004)

Although she placed 3rd on Season Two of American Idol, Kimberley Locke has been one of the most popular contestants, due to her powerful voice and wonderful performances.

I wasn’t so much of a Locke fan during her run on the show, but I’m starting to like her more and more. I always thought she had an amazing voice, and sweet personality, so I knew I’d probably buy her debut album when it hit stores.

After hearing the first single, 8th World Wonder, I went out (well, I actually just surfed on over to Half.com), and bought One Love.

I heard 8th World Wonder on the radio 3 or 4 times before realizing it was Locke. It’s an upbeat pop song about falling in love with someone. I like this song a lot, actually. It’s very catchy, and Locke gets to “rock out” a bit during the chorus and bridge.

Have You Ever Been In Love seems like something that’d belong on a Hilary Duff album: light pop/rock fluff with a catchy hook. It’s an OK song, and the lyrics are all right, I guess, but it’s not all that memorable or great. Oh, and to clear up any confusion-this is not a remake of the Celine Dion song of the name.

Originally, I didn’t like Wrong. It came off very corny, and too formulaic- like the producers were trying to model this after a few songs on Kelly Clarkson’s debut, Thankful. After several listens, I still think it’s a bit corny (especially the speaking part towards the end), but it kind of grew on me. The chorus, again, is very guitar driven, as Locke lets the guy who did her wrong know that she’s “strong” and not taking any more of his crap. There’s probably a hundred other songs just like this. I Could is one of the few songs on the album that I just can’t get into. I’ve listened to it several times, but it still doesn’t really stick out or leave an impression on me. It’s another pop song, and here Locke sings about how she could pretend to be in love with someone she doesn’t really have deep feelings for.

Awwww…Clocke! Locke duets with her current roomie, and former AI contestant, Clay Aiken, in Without You, a power ballad about love lost. This is probably one of my favourites on the album, and not just because Aiken’s on it. They genuinely sound good together, and even though the song is a bit sappy (Richard Marx wrote it- enough said), I like it. This song is basically the first on the album where we really get to experience Locke’s lovely voice.

From here on, the songs on the CD go from being pop/rock to R&B, and it’s sort of a strange transition. It’s Alright is a bit of both, and the chorus reminds me of Janet Jackson’s similarly titled song, “Alright”. Lyrically, this song is pretty original, as Locke sings about two friends who are in bad situations, and tells them that she’ll be their shoulder to cry on. I have mixed feelings about Coulda Been. In one way, I like the fact that it’s upbeat and catchy, but the lyrics are very corny and annoying (Example: “Coulda been right/Coulda been cool/Coulda been the best thing/Since high school” *rolls eyes*)I usually don’t skip this song, but it’s not something I look forward to listening to, either.  Before is another ballad, but unlike Without You, this one is really boring. It just goes on forever, probably because it seems like Locke sings the word “Before” like, 50 times in the chorus.

However, You’ve Changed is probably my favourite song on the album. I love the beat, and she sounds wonderful. It almost sounds like something Jill Scott or Angie Stone would sing. Locke is credited as one of the writers, which is also pretty cool.

Locke’s voice is a lot more soulful on Now I Can Fly. Her vocals are very strong, and she sounds great; more like the Locke we met on the show. Another one of my favourite tracks.   Locke originally sang of Bonnie Raitt’s I Can’t Make You Love Me on American Idol. I loved her rendition of it then, and I like this version as well. Locke gives it an R&B touch that’s a bit refreshing, although I would’ve been happy with the original version too.

After hearing her sing Somewhere Over The Rainbow on American Idol several times, I thought I’d never want to her Ms. Locke sing it again. But I have to admit that I do like the album version. She changes it up a bit by giving it a gospel-type flair, and she sounds great.

It’s unfortunate that One Love turned out the way it did.  Kimberley Locke has a lot of vocal talent, but like many of her fellow Idol alum, it’s lost on her first post-Idol album.  Hopefully she’ll breakaway from her Idol affiliations and make a better follow-up album.

Rating: 3_stars.svg

Track List
1. 8th World Wonder
2. Have You Ever Been in Love
3. Wrong
4. I Could
5. Without You
6. It’s Alright
7. Coulda Been
8. Before
9. You’ve Changed
10. Now I Can Fly
11. I Can’t Make You Love Me
12. Somewhere Over the Rainbow

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K9oDpPNUlKA]

*This is a brittpinkie “classic” review. I have edited this review for content and formatting, though retained my original opinion of the product.

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