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The Real Thing

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Album Review

Early on in the fourth season of American Idol the powers that be dubbed the season the battle of the rockers, because for the first time ever, AmIdol had not one but two rock vocalists as prime contenders. First, there was Constantine Maroulis, a music-theater veteran singing overheated, outdated grunge who dominated the audition rounds, becoming an early favorite. His rival didn't appear until the tail end of the auditions. His name was Bo Bice, a bearded longhair who seemed as if he stepped out of central casting for a Southern rocker. Bo catapulted to front-runner status as soon as he belted out a gritty, soulful version of "Whipping Post" in one of the first shows of the season. It was easily the hardest-rocking thing ever heard on American Idol and as the weeks went by, Bo proved that he was versatile, singing ballads as effectively as the rockers — a feat that proved to be a bit of a stumbling block for Constantine, who truly shined only when he acknowledged his bent for theatricality, as on a startlingly good version of "Bohemian Rhapsody." Soon, that lack of versatility becameMaroulis' Achilles' heel and the battle of the rockers petered out into a competition between Bo and Carrie Underwood, a sweet girl-next-door country singer who eventually won the tightest AmIdol contest since Ruben Studdard squeaked out a victory over Clay Aiken on the second season. On Bo's album debut, The Real Thing, 19 Entertainment, exec producer Clive Davis, and the whole American Idol album crew place the singer into an alt-rock setting somewhere between Nickelback and Bon Jovi. Bo sounds like other mainstream male rock singers in 2005 — his songs have verses that surge into anthemic choruses where heavy guitars kick in, inching the volume up to a point where it becomes a glossy wall of digital sound. The music is tightly wound and meticulously clean. While this doesn't necessarily play to Bo's strengths, there are some good, professional tunes co-written by either Jon Bon Jovi or his longtime partner Richie Sambora. Elsewhere, 19 paired him with Ben Moody from Evanescence, Ashlee Simpson's collaborator Kara DioGuardi, and Chad Kroeger from Nickelback, for a set of mildly active rock.

Customer Reviews

More like the wrong thing

Southern rocker Bo Bice entered the big leagues upon finishing as runner-up on the fourth season of ‘American Idol,’ but his debut does not measure up to expectations. Although he has the backing of music industry exec Clive Davis, his new image and sound are as transparent as half-empty glass of water. Bice tries to pull off the pop-rocker profile on tracks like “U Make Me Better” and the Chad Kroeger-penned “You’re Everything,” but they fall flat despite the southern spin in Bice’s vocals. Lead single and title track “The Real Thing” is melodically catchy but the lyrics are bland to the core. Similarly, the lyrics on “Lie…It’s Alright” are almost laughable coming from Bice, as they would be more believable coming from someone like Kelly Clarkson or even Aaron Carter. The fact that Bice collaborates with RCA’s usual suspects - Kara DioGaurdi and John Shanks - is enough to raise suspect of the authenticity of his debut. Although he does shine on the closing song “Valley of Angels,” it is most likely because Bice co-wrote it and therefore has at least some say in its existence. Bice also sounds more authentic on “Hold On to Me” and “Willing to Try,” which reflect his Alabamian roots a bit better, but clunkers like the cliché “My World” and the up-tempo tune “Nothing Without You” show that pop, whether in ballad or rock form, mix as well with his genuine southern vocals just about as well as sushi mixes with butter. Bo Bice is much, much better than this generic radio filler and will be able to show that ‘The Real Thing’ is actually the wrong thing when he is given back control of his career.

Better album than Daughtry's

No, Bice doesn't have Daughtry's amazing stage presence. But then, when I'm listening to an album, there IS no stage presence. In the recording, all that counts are the voice, the heart, the instruments, and the song itself. I know some will disagree, but I think that song for song, Bice's album is better than Daughtry's huge-hit debut. The songs mean something. It's not all performances - the words matter to Bice, and so they come through to the listener. I don't listen to Daughtry's album any more. I'll be listening to these songs on "The Real Thing" as a part of my regular cd rotation for many years to come.

Pretty Good Album!

This album was pretty good! The lyrics were my favorite. But some of the songs seemed to kind of mean the same thing. I don't know, but I liked it. He has came a long way, and I bet he will be coming out with a new album here sometime soon, if this one gets good sales rep. Otherwise I would buy the album, it seems like a good album you could just sit and relax to.


Born: November 1, 1975 in Huntsville, AL

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Husky-voiced American Idol singing sensation Harold "Bo" Bice hailed from Helena, AL, and brought his Southern sensibility with him to the fourth season of Fox's long-running talent contest. Bice competed weekly against fellow rocker Constantine Maroulis, his long hair, bell bottoms, and drug rug tunics against Maroulis' biker jacket and stockpile of New York City swagger. Eventually Bice won out (to the shock of some Idol fans), and went all the way to the winner's circle where he was AI runner-up...
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The Real Thing, Bo Bice
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Customer Ratings