Wrong Side Is Right
- Monday, December 03, 2012
Artist: Phillip Phillips
Title: The World from the Wrong Side of the Moon
Label: 19 Recordings/Interscope
Just as no review of Lady Gaga is complete without some reference to Madonna's obvious influence upon her, so it must be with this year's unlikely American Idol winner Phillip Phillips and his glaring preference for all things Dave Matthews Band. From the sandpapery vocals and pop/rock core with jazzy rhythmic inflections to the pleasant intertwining of acoustic guitar, violin, and brass, every ingredient is there for scrutiny.
Clearly a new generation is ready to hear this style for the first time, so the oddly titled. The World from the Wrong Side of the Moon is a fine introduction. And since Phillips and Matthews are twenty-three years apart in age, and the latter has settled the matter (I wish him the best of luck! Maybe I can retire and he can take over my band.), we can move on. But you can be sure DMB's recent Away from the World is by comparison a masterwork.
Getting back to Phillips, hisWorld is duly youthful and seemingly less complex. Themes of taking life by the lapels emerge from the start, making sense and nonsense together in "Man on the Moon"—a fun mix of Stevie Wonder funk, country banjo, and a surprise saxophone solo. "Tell Me a Story" is slower but still hopeful, not far removed from John Mayer in its advice to live with what you have now and make the best of what's to come.
Phillips writes most of the album without any blatant sense of commercial obligation, but the songs he didn't pen remind us this is an American Idol affair. First single and show coronation hit "Home" (also featured during the Olympics) has a manufactured Mumford & Sons stamp on it that fits, but the closing "So Easy" has an overly sweet pop feel that's alien to the rest of the set. The bright and perky "Gone, Gone, Gone" splits the difference.
His personal artistry works
best on the Matthews-like "Drive Me" and "Get Up Get Down" with their perfectly
breezy attitudes and fun, sudden tight stops. Phillips tends to go all
coffeehouse (fresh brood?) on entirely self-written songs, channeling Jeff
Buckley on the well done "Hold On" and especially ambitious "Wanted Is Love."
The indulgent "A Fool's Dance" is too much though, reminding us why he needed
that panel of judges in the first place. For the most part, however, this Wrong Side is right on.
*This Review First Published 12/3/2012
Have something to say about this article? Leave your comment via Facebook below!
Listen to Your Favorite Pastors
Add Crosswalk.com content to your siteBrowse available content