THE GRADE B
BOTTOM LINE “Idol” winner tries to charm America once again.
Nick Fradiani won season 14 of “American Idol” in 2015 more with his likable personality and impressive work ethic than with his voice.
There’s nothing wrong with that. It’s happened many times before and will likely keep happening, as long as there are televised singing competitions where voters decide the winners.
The problem is what happens after the show is over. Like several winners from “Idol” and “The Voice,” Fradiani needs the infrastructure of a network TV show to help sell the songs from his debut album “Hurricane” (Big Machine) because his voice just isn’t distinctive enough generally to get it done on its own.
Though Fradiani smartly took his time creating his debut, co-writing all of the songs except for his coronation song “Beautiful Life,” “Hurricane” still suffers from a bit of multiple personality disorder.
The most likable version of Fradiani comes on the piano-driven “If I Didn’t Know You,” co-written with Matchbox Twenty’s Paul Doucette. The song has a bit of the blues, a bit of Elton John from the ’70s, while Fradiani’s voice is at its most personable, similar to Train’s Pat Monahan and Matchbox Twenty’s Rob Thomas, only with more vulnerability. That’s where he sounds the most artistic, along with the lovely title track he co-wrote with Jason Mraz.
So why does Fradiani then spend most of “Hurricane” trying to match Justin Bieber or Nick Jonas? He probably would have made more money offering “Every Day” and the current single “Get You Home” to Bieber and “In the Long Run” to Jonas. Might as well hand “Nothing to Lose” over to Andy Grammer while we’re doling out these well-crafted, if slightly anonymous, songs out to the singer who can carry them farthest.
Fradiani has plenty of talent, but he needs to use it to make his voice instantly recognizable and “Hurricane” doesn’t quite do it.