This past New Music Tuesday, Lee DeWyze’s major label album debut, Live It Up hit store shelves. As an American Idol fan, the day the winner’s album comes out is always fun for me.
After listening to the album a couple times through, I felt the best way to talk about the album was to talk a little about each song. So here we go!
Track 01 — “Live It Up”
I feel like “Live It Up” really encompasses what the album is about, and more so sets the overall tone of the album. In a way, this entire album feels like a relationship, which I will expand on later, and “Live It Up” is that first meeting/first date.
This track was originally supposed to be DeWyze’s first single. I do understand why it was swapped last minute. I do think that it’s a better song than “Sweet Serendipity,” but I don’t know how well it would fair on the radio.
Track 02 — “Sweet Serendipity”
Before the album came out, I reviewed “Sweet Serendipity” for BlogCritics, and for what it’s worth, the song has grown on me since that initial review.
Now, it’s still not my favorite track on the album. I still think it sounds very similar to Kris Allen’s “Live Like We’re Dying,” but my big issue that I have with the song is all the ad-lib singing, where the chorus could have been incorporated. I really noticed this during the live performances, and I just think if the extended chorus was added in before the ad-libbing it would make it that much more sing-a-long friendly.
Track 03 — “It’s Gotta Be Love”
Never judge a song by it’s cheesy title. Or it’s 30-second snippet, that upon first listen did the song absolutely no favors.
I actually really like this song. It has a fun melody, that will make it a great song to perform live. DeWyze is very honest in his songwriting about those feelings you get after you meet someone and spend time with them for the first time. Granted, the lyrics “my knees are weak, my heart skipped a beat” are cheesetastic, but the song as a whole is good.
Track 04 — “Dear Isabelle”
After listening to this track for the first time, I really wanted to be “Isabelle.” What girl doesn’t want a guy to write her letter and instead of mailing it, he turns it into a sweet, repenting song?
On the flip side, “Dear Isabelle” totally sounds like the Plain White T’s “Hey There Delilah.” I’m sure that it wasn’t intentional, however the comparison is undeniable.
Track 05 — “Beautiful Like You”
This is the one track on the album that DeWyze didn’t write, but it fits in great with the rest of the songs. I would even go as far to say that I think it should be in contention to be his second single. It’s got that light pop/rock, mid-tempo ballad feel to it which would make it perfect for radio.
Track 06 — “Stay Here”
“Stay Here” is hands down the catchiest song on the album. The melody sounds a wee bit similar to “It’s Gotta Be Love,” but “Stay Here” is definitely the better of the two tracks. It has sing-a-long written all over it. The lyrics paint a very sweet side of DeWyze.
Track 07 — “Me And My Jealousy”
If not even a little piece of you likes this song after you listen to it, consider yourself judged. Even Entertainment Weekly’s Michael Slezak managed to say something nice about this song.
“Me And My Jealousy” has a slight Kings Of Leon vibe. It’s a great blend of rock and pop.
Why am I so stoked on this song? This is Lee’s hit. It also happens to be my favorite track on the album, but that’s completely not the point. This is the song that if you asked me would which song you needed to listen to like yesterday, I would say, “Me And My Jealousy.”
I am choosing to ignore the fact that DeWyze chose to rhyme “hours” with “ours,” because of how the song is able to evoke emotions. The lyrics will pull on your emotional heartstrings, and be that song that you can relate a situation to. Which is exactly what DeWyze wanted to do with his music.
“Hopefully my song is someone’s break-up song, or their first dance song, or they get married to it. That’s really the goal of my music, to get people connected to me through my music, and connect with it on some level,” DeWyze told me during an interview earlier this month.
Track 08 — “Brooklyn Bridge”
What I really like about this song, is how piano-driven it is. This song shows the bluesy, soulful side of DeWyze’s vocals. I wouldn’t have expected a song like this to appear on his album, but I am so glad it made the cut.
“Brooklyn Bridge” is a beautifully written love song, and it’s sure to make fans swoon when he performs it live. DeWyze doesn’t seem to shy away from his romantic side at all on Live It Up.
Track 09 — “Weightless”
This track is another very sweet, romantic song. It also is my least favorite track on the album. And it’s not that the lyrics are overtly cheesy or anything, it just doesn’t seem to be my cup of tea.
The melody does have an other worldly vibe about it. (Think Owl City’s “Fireflies,” but slowed down.) Almost a lullaby-ish quality to the song.
Track 10 — “Earth Stood Still”
If there’s a song on this album that a girl would want written about them, it’s “Earth Stood Still.” It has pop feel to the melody, but has a Jason Mraz kind of vibe, that I’m also diggin’ on.
When I spoke to DeWyze, he called Live It Up a “reflective album.” After listening to this song along with a couple others, I would definitely agree. I really like it when artists write from their own experiences, because it allows the listener to really connect with the music.
Track 11 — “A Song About Love”
DeWyze closes the album with this stripped down, acoustic ballad. His vocals are raspy, the lyrics feel honest. I think if he ever performs this song live, it’s going to be a great moment with just him playing guitar. It’s a great closing song for the album.
I mentioned earlier that I felt like the album in a way was a relationship. It starts out in good spirits, and ends kind of down and out about love. In between there’s memories of good times and there’s reflections of things that went wrong. I think love is the most relatable topic you can talk about on an album, and I think listeners will be able to connect with DeWyze’s music.
I think for a post-Idol debut, Live It Up is a pretty good album. DeWyze has proven that he is a pretty decent songwriter, and he’s definitely not afraid of showing a more vulnerable side of himself.
Overall Grade: B+
Live It Up is out now.
Definite Downloads: “Me And My Jealousy” and “Beautiful Like You”