The music industry is rarely fair, but Candice Glover has drawn a remarkably unfortunate lot for her debut, "Music Speaks" (Interscope).
The reigning "American Idol," whose strong, soulful voice actually makes her one of the most promising winners in years, has been hampered by a lot of situations out of her control. Her season was hamstrung from the start by dueling divas Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj and the weird elimination of nearly every talented male contestant, but Glover was good enough to win outright, as her debut shows.
Those asterisks seem to have affected her music prospects, though, resulting in her debut arriving a ridiculous nine months after interest in her peaked and a lead single, "Cried," that is among the album's weakest and saddest tracks. Who uses a downbeat song with a motif of tiredness and a chorus of "I cried and I cried and I cried" as an introduction? Yes, it was written by the great Jazmine Sullivan, and Glover does OK with it, but come on, Sullivan's "Damn" would have been a way better choice.
The fun "Coulda Been Me," which combines a girl group vibe and a hip-hop groove, is a far stronger potential single or the Mike Will Made It-produced ballad "Passenger" could generate far more buzz for the project.
Glover smartly includes her version of The Cure's "Love Song" on "Music Speaks," arguably the best performance ever on "Idol," as a reminder that she has the chops to weather this storm. It's just sad that she needs a comeback even before she really starts.
THE GRADE B
BOTTOM LINE The "Idol" champion cast as an underdog.