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One Hell of a Bad Album

Daniel Powter - Daniel Powter
1 1/2 stars (out of 5 stars)
Reviewed: May 9, 2006
Daniel Powter

Review by Brad Walseth

On the strength of the inescapable international hit single, "Bad Day," Canadian born Daniel Powter has been hailed by some as the next coming of Elton John. Sadly, these reports seem more the effort of an overly aggressive promotional campaign than serious consideration of the singer/keyboardist songwriter's actual talent, as his debut self titled album aptly displays.

"Bad Day" the song is a pleasant enough diversion, which seems to have struck a nerve with a nervous populace facing unsettling times filled with riots (in France where Powter is huge) to corporate downsizing and outsourcing of jobs here in America. The song walks a tightrope between despair and comfort nicely and its message of reassurance has resonance across a broad spectrum of humanity. The rest of the album; however, shows Powter to be a one-hit wonder in the making, as his weaknesses in songwriting and singing are made quite apparent. Time after time, his half-hearted attempts at writing a listenable melody are waylaid by his embarrassing descents into the trite, the maudlin, the cliche. Making matters worse, Powter is a believer of the school of thought (a popular misconception among the modern breed) that creepy falsettos, growling and other grating vocal tics are a substitute for "singing."

Could eminent producer Mitchell Froom (Crowded House, Elvis Costello) - a fellow keyboardist - possibly bring some hope to the lame arrangements? Afraid not. And for two keyboard players - how is it that the keyboard parts are so uninspiring and the sounds themselves so squishy and bland? I am at a loss. The attempts to be uptempo are cringe worthy, while the slow groaners fizzle. The lyrics? Nope - his so called earnestness brings him no points, while attempts to be "street" sound formula made to try to make a parlor player "dangerous."

"Hollywood" almost makes it, but is undermined by a seriously lame chord change at the end of his chorus - didn't he have any friends/advisors who would speak up and point out where his tin ear is showing? Album opener "Song 6" also almost reaches "ok" status, but in the end only the appropriately titled "Styrofoam" is noteworthy as a non "Bad Day" cut.

Kids - all I can say is think for yourselves. Don't be misled into wasting your hard earned cash on another record company creation. Either download the single, or wait for the K-tell "One Hit Wonders of 2006" release. In any case, tell Daniel better luck on his next album and meanwhile to "take a Powter."

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