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Audio Day Dream

Blake Lewis

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Album Review

Paula Abdul notoriously labeled Blake Lewis as "the contemporary rebel," a seemingly nonsensical assignation that nevertheless had the ring of truth. Compared to everything else on that turgid sixth season of Idol, Blake was contemporary and a rebel. Unlike the obligatory soul throwback Melinda Doolittle, Lewis seemed versed in music made after his birth year, and compared to teen queen Jordin Sparks, he was happy to bend (but not break) the rules, beatboxing as often as he sang. It made for OK TV, pushing him to the forefront of a pack that gleaned its only personality through the skin of Antonella Barba and the hair of Sanjaya Malakar. Blake carried a tune better than those two, but not better than Melinda and Jordin. Where he trumped them was the fact that he seemed to have a sense of himself, a musical identity cobbled together from the scrap yard of '80s MTV — all learned via VH1 Classic and YouTube, naturally, as he was a toddler when the network launched — that nevertheless seemed fresh when put against the endless Motown versions and Celine Dion on American Idol, and helped justify Abdul's appellation, at least a little bit. What Blake had that the other contestants didn't was musical ideas that came from outside the confines of the show, which was enough to make him interesting on a weekly basis, and it was enough to suggest that he could possibly pull all his thoughts together on his inevitable studio album. That inevitable studio album — punningly titled Audio Day Dream, whose shorthand is ADD, a too-knowing acknowledgment of Lewis' scattershot attention span — ranges from the expected beatboxing and new wave fetishism to white-boy soul cribbed from Justin Timberlake and Maroon 5's Adam Levine, prissy schoolboy crooning pitched halfway between Keane and a neutered Morrissey, self-conscious digital effects, and a revamped "Puttin' on the Ritz" as learned from Taco, not Fred Astaire. All 16 tracks on Audio Day Dream fall into one of four categories: stabs at old-school hip-hop, new wave revivalism, shaky club/dance soul, or tremulous Brit crooning. He's a jack of many trades and tries to do everything — and as it has so much going on, ADD is surely more interesting than almost any other post-Idol effort from a finalist. Interesting as in, there's a whole bunch of stuff going on here.

Biography

Born: 21 July 1981 in Bothell, WA

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Best known as the beatboxing contestant on season six of American Idol, Blake Lewis hails from Bothell, Washington. Lewis comes from a musical family — his mother used to be in a rock band and continues to sing and play guitar — and began singing himself at age five. He impressed Randy Jackson, Simon Cowell, and Paula Abdul at the Seattle auditions with his beatboxing and performance of Seal's "Crazy," and further wowed them at Hollywood week, where he performed with fellow contestants...
Full bio
Audio Day Dream, Blake Lewis
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  • USD 6.99
  • Genres: Pop, Music, Teen Pop
  • Released: 04 December 2007

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