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Memories of a Beautiful Disaster

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iTunes Review

While many American Idol contestants with an impressive vocal range attribute their skills to high school choir or even operatic training, James Durbin has heavy metal to thank. Diagnosed with both Asperger and Tourette syndromes before his tween years, the Santa Cruz, Calif., native found solace in fretboard-shredding guitar leads and wailing falsettos. And though he covered songs by Judas Priest and Queen on American Idol, his debut album reflects a love for razor-honed pop hooks roughed up with a gritty post-grunge production. “Higher Than Heaven” opens with beefy guitar riffs pumping along a strapping rhythm section as Durbin sings his heart out, unintentionally recalling Mark Wahlberg’s role as Chris “Izzy” Cole in the 2001 movie Rock Star. The following “All I Want” could be the catchiest tune here, especially with its contagious sing-along chorus. Durbin explores his lower range in the midtempo “Love in Ruins” before flexing his balladeer’s muscle on the impassioned “Love Me Bad.” Mötley Crüe’s Mick Mars makes an appropriate cameo in the pop-metal-tinged “Outcast.”

Customer Reviews

Great CD

Really like the sound of this CD. Alot better than Scotty or Lauren

This is going to be a classic!

It's been ages since I hear an album where I love more than three songs. With this album, I am loving every single song!!! I can totally see myself listening and still enjoying this album after 10+ years! It's going to be a classic! This album brings a variety of rock styles, each with refreshing and different from the current rock sound. The sequence of the songs is played to have different tempos, never boring! A brilliant album!

James proves his worth!!!

James proves he has what it takes to be a rock star! As others have pointed out, it isn't as "metal" as one would have thought due to his "Give Metal a Chance" plea during Idol, but being a fan of many genres, I have to say that the songs are infectious and beg you to sing along out loud (which I WILL be doing!). Also, it is a very personal album, as evidenced by Screaming, Outcast, Everything Burns and Liberate. You can feel the pain of growing up different in his lyrics. This album is a personal victory for James and a shout out to all who are persecuted for being different to embrace their differences and realize that they can accomplish great things. James....I hope you have a long and successful career doing what you love and many blessings for your family as you embark on this new journey!


Born: January 6, 1989 in Santa Cruz, CA

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '10s

Every season of American Idol has at least one rocker vying for the crown, but few have an honest-to-god metalhead like James Durbin, who wailed his way to a fourth-place finish during the show's 2011 season. Born in 1989, Durbin was raised in Santa Cruz, California, where he was diagnosed with Tourette's and Asperger's syndrome at nine years old. Uncomfortable in social situations, he turned to music instead, developing a larger-than-life stage presence as part of a local theater group and singing...
Full Bio
Memories of a Beautiful Disaster, James Durbin
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