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A Thousand Different Ways

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Album Review

The endlessly delayed A Thousand Different Ways, Clay Aiken's second proper album, was long-awaited, at least by the hoards of fans enthusiastically calling themselves Claymates, of which there are many. There were enough Claymates to make the American Idol season two runner-up one of the two biggest stars the show has produced to date — the other, of course, being Kelly Clarkson — propelling his debut album, Measure of a Man, to number one upon its 2003 release. Chart success means a lot, particularly for an American Idol, and it would seem that blockbuster success would embolden a pop star. That certainly was the case with Kelly Clarkson, who came on strong with her second album, forever banishing the specter of AmIdol as she swaggered through the irresistible "Since U Been Gone." Given Kelly's example, it would seem that Clay could have come out swinging with A Thousand Different Ways and do something interesting, but A Thousand Different Ways isn't risky: it's an album made directly for fans and makes Measure of a Man seem daring. This record has a couple of new made-to-order tunes for Clay, but for the most part it consists of songs you know by heart, equal parts popular standards and adult contemporary. Clay sings Richard Marx's "Right Here Waiting," Badfinger's "Without You," Hall & Oates' "Every Time You Go Away," Bryan Adams' "Everything I Do (I Do It for You)," Foreigner's "I Want to Know What Love Is," and Mr. Mister's "Broken Wings." He does a really nice job with Dolly Parton's "Here You Come Again" (the closest thing to a genuine surprise here), rivals Celine Dion on "Because You Loved Me," and naturally does a pretty good job with Elton John's "Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word." The cumulative effect of all these covers plus the new songs is like a season of American Idol in microcosm: it's uncannily like listening to outtakes from the show. And it's the first album from any American Idol contestant to sound exactly how they did on the show. Justin Guarini, George Huff, Josh Gracin, and even William Hung sound different on record than they did on the show — but not Clay, one of the few genuine American Idol superstars. He sounds exactly how you remember him from TV, which means that A Thousand Different Ways will particularly satisfy the Claymates — but the truth is, they probably would have stuck with him under any circumstances.

Customer Reviews

1st review

i dunno : )


Born: November 30, 1978 in Raleigh, NC

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '00s, '10s

As the second-place contestant on Fox television's second season of American Idol, vocalist Clay Aiken wowed television audiences with his Southern charm, sweet demeanor, and powerful tenor voice, all of which combined to make him a pop star (and, later, a fixture on Broadway). Originally, Aiken had planned to try out for the reality TV series The American Race, but went ahead and auditioned for the Idol competition to please an encouraging friend. Out of 7,000 hopefuls, the Charlotte, North Carolina...
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